Editor’s note: In a previous post, Mr. Howard discussed the Science Lecture Series, a great program produced by the Xaverian Science Department. Last week the Science Lecture Series hosted a presentation by Dionisio P. Bernal, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University. Senior John Morton was in attendance, and was kind enough to share his thoughts with us. Enjoy!
By John Morton ’11
Xaverian held the second edition of the science lecture series featuring Dennis Bernal, a professor of engineering at Northeastern University. Professor Bernal presented the concept of placing sensors on buildings to alert engineers if there is a structural problem thereby preventing accidents. This corresponded to one of the topics that we covered in Physics II deals with oscillating motion and the principles of period, frequency, amplitude, and resonance.
Professor Bernal first provided an overview of structural dynamics of many buildings and bridges around the world. He explained that buildings and bridges need to be built to survive environmental problems. He showed how they are built using precise mathematical formulas. Following this concept, he moved into the courses that a structural engineer would take in college. Statics was one such course which is taught at Xaverian!
By introducing the principles of structural dynamics and oscillating motion, Bernal moved into discussing the sensors themselves. One of the challenges of working with sensors is that buildings and bridges can oscillate back and forth because of wind. The wind can trigger sensors with a false alarm. The accuracy of these sensors thus needs to further improvement to prevent future disasters from occurring.
This lecture series truly helped me as it aided in my understanding of oscillatory motion by giving us a practical application to what we were learning in Physics II. Thank you Professor Bernal for coming to speak to Xaverian!