This life lesson relates to my previous blog #69 Go to Stonehenge.
As an engineer, I practice this almost daily. I constantly find myself stopping and looking at things to figure out how they were built or how they work. This is common with all of my engineering friends; we can’t help ourselves. I commonly refer to us as an engiNERD because our habits appear nerdy to the rest of our friends.
I found the history behind Stonehenge fascinating. For centuries, modern humans could not explain how the site was built. Eventually, we managed to figure it out with our advanced technology. Today, we know when it was built, where the stones came from, how they erected the stones and many more facts about the site.
It still remains a true feat of engineering that they were able to create this incredible site with primitive tools. I guess that is what astonishes me the most. Even with everything we know about the site now, we are still asking, “But how did they actually manage to make it with what they had?” If you gave modern man the same tools, we would be hopeless…
While marveling at engineering capabilities is an innate part of my character, I believe we should all do it, whether you are an engineer or not. The next time you walk past an interesting sculpture or contraption in the city, stop and take a look at it. I mean really take a look at it. I’m sure you will be able to make logical sense of how it was put together and how it works. This will empower you and you will begin to look at everyday things a bit differently.
Perhaps you have read this far and thought to yourself that I really am an enginerd. Why would you need to stop and look at things to figure them out? Isn’t that what google is for?
Well, I have a challenge for you. A site that we are familiar with, yet no one knows how it was constructed: The Great Pyramids of Egypt. We know a great many things about the pyramids, but no one, not a single person, can accurately explain how the pyramids were built. This is why they have also made it on to my bucket list.
We know they were built about 4,500 years ago. We know that The Great Pyramid contains approximately 2.3 million stones, each ranging from 2.5-15 tons. We know that The Great Pyramid was built in approximately 20-25 years. This means they would have had to place a stone every six minutes, working 24/7 for 25 years, to accomplish this feat. How did they do it?
Not only is it enormous, it is incredibly precise. It is aligned perfectly with true north, to a fraction of a single degree. The base is a perfect square, measuring 756 ft on each side. Each side has the exact same slope of 51 degrees. They completed this build very quickly and very precisely, yet no one can explain how.
If this is not enough for you to marvel at engineering capabilities, then I don’t know what is. I hope that, in my lifetime, we are able to discover the answer to one of engineering’s greatest questions.
How do you think The Great Pyramid was built? Let me know in the comments below.
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Dave has been on a mission, since 2010, to cross off the 100 items on his bucket list. The stories of his adventures are complimented by life lessons learned along the way and his travel tips are unique to his experiences.