The World’s Greatest Structures

Understanding the World’s Greatest Structures: Science and Innovation from Antiquity to Modernity, by Stephen Ressler (Teaching Company) ★★★★
This is a fascinating tour of structures mostly built within the last 100-200 years throughout the world, with an orientation around first bridges, and then buildings. Ressler is a civil engineer, and so the orientation of the course was entirely around the design and mechanical features of bridges and buildings that have allowed for their great length or height. It is a most fascinating story of design failures, learning curves, and serendipitous success.  Ressler is reasonably non-technical, though I wish he would have included at least one lecture on the real mathematics of design–not all of us are science dummies. Ressler has an interesting style of teaching, but is most effective. His personality struck both Betsy and me as a cross between a close friend R.B. and Mr. Know-it-All Bullwinkle Moose. Both Betsy and I enjoyed this lecture set tremendously both because of the topic and the teacher, and recommend it to our friends.