The Ultimate Civil Engineer

This article was written for CEA Fest 2012 Newsletter ‘Contour’.

About the authors: Sohini Sarkar and Rohan Sriram, are 3rd year electrical students, and hold the distinction of being pioneers of the E “square” A, and its only (working?) members. Apart from writing, and composing impromptu poetry, the only other passion they share is agreeing to disagree on any topic of mutual non-interest.

If not found writing, or in Tiffs or both, rest assured that Sohini can be found catching up on (deficit?) sleep. Rohan, on the other hand, is sure to be found within the confines of his room, cheering for Arsenal in a match they’ve already lost!

About the author who wrote the introduction above: Girish Ramakrishnan, the ‘IARC man’, is also a 3rd year electrical student and is mostly found sleeping walking. When not dissembling analog circuits or discussing active filters, Girish loves to walk alone in moonlit nights at a pace slower than the snail. He also writes poetry, sings occasionally and runs once in a blue moon. Tiffs doesn’t close at night without serving Girish a cup of signature Tiffs coffee! He has a very peculiar habit of going into a silent mode when there are more than 3 people at a time.

About the author who wrote the introduction above: You are reading her blog right now! So before you close this tab out of sheer frustration, here is the main article!

Through the ages, various elite groups have emerged, especially in the area of science and technology. Some left a lasting impression while others faded into oblivion. But none have been as prolific as the civil engineers, the true free ‘masons’. Lego bricks, The Stonehenge, The Pyramids of Giza, Angkor Vat – civil engineers are the force behind all the wonders of the world. Above all, they conceived the most basic architecture which is an integral part of our life – home sweet home!

Exquisite specimens of manmade constructions have always garnered evident attention since time immemorial. Yet, the first rays of the emerging sun in the early morning fill our souls with such peace and contentment that cannot be felt at the top of Burj Khalifa. What is it about Mother Nature that we love its simplicity much more than the most complex edifice of this world? Well, the answer is right in front of you! One look at the soaring mountains, crystal clear rivers, deep blue oceans and you will realise the greatest civil engineer is God himself. And it isn’t just God! His own creations – animals, birds, human beings, too have inherited this expertise. Creativity is contagious!

Nature is abound with instances where even the most primitive creatures have showcased amazing skill in constructing sturdy habitats. Nocturnal semi-aquatic beavers re-engineer the landscape completely to suit their needs which very few other animals can do. They build dams which are often strategically located in the middle of ponds and can only be reached by underwater entrances. Destroying a beaver dam without removing the beavers is very difficult, which truly makes them the king as well as the warrior of their kingdom.

Another example is the habitat of termites. The sculptured mounds have elaborate and distinctive forms which are great engineering feats in themselves. What is interesting is termites are able to modify their nests according to their environment. They do not build the entire mound overnight, but constantly add to it and extending it gradually. A large mound can be many years old, possibly decades.

This is just the tip of the ice berg. There are innumerable such examples which simply iterates the fact that God is indeed the ultimate civil engineer. Well, he built us, the only ‘civil’ beings residing on this Earth, didn’t he?

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