An anthropomorphic model


Journal Article

Baker's design for the bridge was quite unusual for its time. It was based on the cantilever principle, which had roots in corbeled arches and vaults. Galileo was the first to provide a rational analysis of a cantilever structure, understanding that if he could successfully determine a relationship between the geometry, material strength and load carried at the end of a generic cantilever beam, then he could predict the behavior of beams of more complex design and thereby shed light on the hitherto in- explicable spontaneous failure of massive structures like obelisks and ships. Galileo's analysis of the cantilever beam was correct in methodology but flawed in detail; still, it provided the basis for a rational method of structural analysis that is taught to engineering students to this day. The classic illustration for what has come to be known as Galileo's Problem has been widely reproduced and, although not strictly speaking an anthropomorphic model provides a feel for the gross forces involved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Petroski, H

Published Date

  • January 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 101 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 103 - 107

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0003-0996

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1511/2013.101.103

Citation Source

  • Scopus