In this episode of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I speak with a young environmental engineer and we discuss and address some of the big decisions she is looking to make in her career, PhD or Not to PhD. Also in this episode, for our Civil Engineering Project of the Week segment, we take a closer look at the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- What you need to understand before you decide to make a change and expand at any stage of your current civil engineering career
- How to identify civil engineering career opportunities, with or without a doctorate degree
- The PROS and CONS of earning a Ph.D. as a civil engineer
- “Whenever you want to make a change…understand why you are seeking that change.” Tune in to #TCEP ep. 5!
- How much does a PhD really matter to you and your career? Tune in to the civil engineering podcast ep. 5! #TCEP
- In this week’s #TCEP, we feature one of the engineering marvels of history: the Great Pyramid of Giza. tune in!
The largest of the three pyramids at Giza, known as the Great Pyramid, is truly an amazing work of engineering. It was built over a period of twenty years. It is estimated that one hundred thousand people worked on this great structure for three months of the year, during the annual flooding of the Nile, when it was not possible to cultivate the land and most of Egypt’s population was unemployed. And It is believed that the Great Pyramid was built as a tomb for the Egyptian pharaoh Cheops. Equally, according to many sources, the pharaoh provided good food and clothing for his workers and was remembered kindly in folktales for many centuries. Surprisingly the sides of the pyramid are oriented to the four cardinal points of the compass and the length of each side at the base is 755 feet (230.4 m). Concurrently the faces rise at an angle of 51º 52′ and its original height was 481 ft (147 m). (It now rises 451 ft [138 m]). It was built with about 2 300 000 limestone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons. Some blocks weigh as much as 16 tons.
Project Budget (Construction):
The actual cost of the project is unknown since it was built so long ago, but to rebuild the pyramid today, using trucks, cranes and helicopters, the project would still require approximately 2,000 workers and cost about $5 billion, according to Jean-Pierre. Houdin, a French architect who helped create a virtual model of the ancient building system. It would take about five years to complete.
Project completion (month/year or expected completion date):
According to a marking on an inner chamber naming the work crew and a reference to the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu of the fourth dynasty, Egyptologists believe the pyramid was built as a tomb during a 10 to 20 year period ending around 2560 B.C.
Special design features and/or challenges:
The size of the Great Pyramid poses a challenge to anyone trying to explain how it could have been built. It is estimated to comprise some 2.3 million limestone blocks averaging 2.5 tons (2.27 metric tons) each, plus additional blocks weighing considerably more that lie deep within the pyramid where they serve special functions. Its height when new, 480.9 feet (146 m), would have been within 74 feet (21.3 m) of the top, 555 feet (169.7 m), of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, which was built 4,444 years later. The average weight of the blocks used in the pyramid and the monument is approximately the same, but the Great Pyramid comprises approximately 65 times as many blocks as the Washington Monument.
For obvious reasons, written records of Egyptian engineering methods are scarce and, therefore, the debate over how they built the Great Pyramid has continued for many centuries. Many alternative, often contradictory, theories have been proposed regarding the pyramid’s construction techniques. There is disagreement as to whether the blocks were dragged, lifted, or even set in place. There are also many questions about the methods by which they were placed in position.
Benefits for society:
Evidently millions of people continue to visit the Great Pyramid each year, drawn by its imposing grandeur and the enduring charm of Egypt’s rich and glorious past.
Leave your comments or questions in the section below about the credentials you are looking for in your civil engineering career.
For your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success
Photo of pyramids by Filip Maljkovic