When you hear about a bridge, it is rare to think to yourself: “hey, I know that bridge!” Unless you’ve happened to live near the bridge or it’s an international landmark like the Golden Gate Bridge (or the punchline to a sucker joke, like the Brooklyn Bridge). But the Tacoma Narrows bridge is famous among the geek set because it was the clearest large scale example of Tesla’s experimentation on resonant frequencies. The wind blew just right to start the bridge resonating, or rocking, and kept blowing until the bridge collapsed. In this footage, some idiot professor goes out onto the bridge (pipe in hand) to save an abandoned dog. I think it’s fine that he saved the dog, I just think he shouldn’t smoke while doing it.
Anyway, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is closed now because of ice. I swear, you can never get a decent commute!
- One-Minute Physics: How wind can take down a bridge (newscientist.com)
- It’s Always the Engineer’s Fault (pacaerocon.com)
- It’s Always the Engineer’s Fault (mappingtheedge.com)
- Narrows (kathleengwhite.com)
- Friday Fun: Recreation of Infamous Bridge Collapse Exonerates Engineers [Confessions of a Science Librarian] (scienceblogs.com)
- Citizen advisory group to discuss Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll rates (kitsapsun.com)
- Busy bridge collapses in central Indonesia; 3 killed (nation.com.pk)
- Structurally Unlucky (mondaymorningbusinessethicist.wordpress.com)