Found in 4 comments on Hacker News
Whenever there is a bridge failure (or similar, highly-visible civil engineering failure) I recommend to engineers of all stripes that they go read the works of Henry Petroski. In particular:

- To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design (1985) [1]

- Design Paradigms: Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering (1994) [2]


- Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and The Spanning of America (1995) [3]

He also wrote a salient op-ed after the 2007 bridge failure in Minneapolis: Learning from bridge failure. [4]





dbarlett · 2014-04-18 · Original thread
Hentry Petroski's To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design [1] has a chapter on the Hyatt Regency. The whole book is great.


billswift · 2009-10-31 · Original thread
This is less technical and more readable, , and Petroski describes a bridge that failed as the result of a single eyebeam failure. In that case though, there were only 4 very short eyebeams supporting the roadbed, one at each corner. He didn't actually call them eyebeams, but hangers, but from the photos, they are the same thing.
tjpick · 2009-08-06 · Original thread
good write up. I'm not a fan of analogies between software and physical construction, mostly because they are often used by people who understand neither and consequently think all physical structures are perfect and software should be too. The author seems to have the right perspective though (or at least one I share).

Some interesting reading -- if a little dry -- on bridges that fall down and other engineering failures

Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.