The hallway in my engineering school had a TV set continually playing a loop of a falling bridge. In 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge failed due to dynamic instability in a relatively mild forty mile-an-hour wind.
I watched the tape hundreds of times waiting for my engineering classes. The unspoken message to aspiring engineers could not be mistaken, “Listen to what we teach you. Don’t make a catastrophic mistake.” This may have been the most important lesson I learned in college.
Tacoma Narrows Bridge–rebuilt more thoughtfully in 1950–is about thirty miles from where we now live. Kit and I frequently drive over it, now two bridges to accommodate four lanes. Recently we hiked over.
I love the bridge as a reminder of my college days and for the lesson it taught me. Catastrophe can follow neglect of scientific or spiritual principles. Learn solid principles and carefully apply them.