Henry Petroski Quotes

Enjoy the top 58 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Henry Petroski.

Henry Petroski Quotes

A failed structure provides a counterexample to a hypothesis and shows us incontrovertibly what cannot be done, while a structure that stands without incident often conceals whatever lessons or caveats it might hold for the next generation of engineers.
— Henry Petroski —

The same aspirations to celebrate and uplift the spirit that drove the Egyptians to build the pyramids are still driving us. The things we're doing differ only in magnitude.

— Henry Petroski

Many of the familiar little things that we use every day have typically evolved over a period of time to a state of familiarity. They balance form and function, elegance and economy, success and failure in ways that are not only acceptable, but also admirable.

— Henry Petroski

I was always told that I was good in mathematics, and I guess my grades and standardized test scores supported that. My worst subjects were those that generally involved a lot of reading - English and history. So, having good test scores in math and mediocre ones in reading, I was naturally advised to major in engineering in college.

— Henry Petroski

Indeed, an engineer designing a structure is not unlike an artist painting one. Both start with nothing but talent, experience, and inspiration. The fresh piece of paper on the drawing board is as blank as the newly stretched piece of canvas.

— Henry Petroski

I emphasize that virtually every engineering calculation is ultimately a failure calculation, because without a failure criterion against which to measure the calculated result, it is a meaningless number.

— Henry Petroski

We call the fates of the Titanic and the Concordia - as well as those of the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia - 'accidents.' Foreseeing such undesirable events is what engineers are expected to do. However, design trade-offs leave technological systems open to failings once predicted, but later forgotten.

— Henry Petroski

Because every design must satisfy competing objectives, there necessarily has to be compromise among, if not the complete exclusion of, some of those objectives, in order to meet what are considered the more important of them.

— Henry Petroski

Failures are much more dramatic than successes, and people like drama. I think this is why automobile races draw such crowds. People expect spectacular crashes, which we tend to find more interesting than cars just racing around the track. The same is true of bridges, buildings, or any structure or machine.

— Henry Petroski

No one wants to learn from mistakes, but we cannot learn enough from successes to go beyond the state of the art.

— Henry Petroski

The bookshelf, like the book, has become an integral part of civilization as we know it, its presence in a home practically defining what it means to be civilized, educated, and refined.

— Henry Petroski

Failure is Central to engineering. Every single calculation that an engineer makes is a failure calculation.

— Henry Petroski

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