Everyday Engineering: Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life

Course No. 1116
Professor Stephen Ressler, Ph.D.
United States Military Academy, West Point
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205 Reviews
94% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 1116
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What Will You Learn?

  • Discover the amazing feats of engineering in our every day world, such as a roof, plumbing, phone, roads, and more.
  • Learn how raw water is treated to make it drinkable and about the incredible feats of engineering it takes to get that water to you.
  • Explore the deep, dark world of tunnel engineering and the highly specialized methods used to build them.
  • Examine the Great Northeast Blackout of 2003 and see what it can teach us about the world of everyday engineering.

Course Overview

Look around you. Great masterpieces of engineering are everywhere. As soon as you get out of bed in the morning, you are putting centuries of scientific and mechanical ingenuity to use. So familiar are these structures, inventions, and services that they are all but invisible. Yet they are just as remarkable as great works such as the Parthenon, the Eiffel Tower, and the Panama Canal.

Consider for a moment the wonders of these marvels that have likely already played an important part in your day today:

  • Residential construction: Built with common materials and simple tools, the modern house is a technological system for living. It provides protection and comfort, access to life’s necessities, and a flexible space for work and recreation.

  • Telecommunications: Able to link you to any phone in the world, the traditional phone system is miraculous enough. Even more wondrous is the array of services available through new telecommunications technologies such as cellular networks.

  • Transportation: You can get there from here, thanks to automotive engineering, petroleum drilling and refining, satellite navigation, and a road system that is fast, safe, and goes almost everywhere.

  • Water and power: Your house would be dark and bleak without connections to infrastructure systems that supply fresh water, dispose of wastewater, and furnish a power source—electricity—that provides illumination and animates most of your household appliances.

All of us use these technologies, and knowing how they work empowers us in major ways. Anyone who owns a home or is in the market for one benefits enormously from understanding how it is constructed and how the roof, insulation, plumbing, wiring, heating, and cooling systems are integrated into the building. Anyone who’s buying a car or needs to get one fixed can rest easier knowing how spark plugs, transmissions, tires, and brakes do their jobs.

And because the development and use of everyday technologies—from solar cells to cell towers—are often strongly influenced by public policy, understanding everyday engineering helps us make more informed decisions about the kinds of policy initiatives we wish to support.

Plus, the achievements of everyday engineering are worth admiring for their own sake. They represent some of the most inspired thinking of our civilization, and by looking under the hood to see how these technologies operate, you learn about basic scientific principles that apply throughout the world.

For these reasons and more, Everyday Engineering: Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life is an indispensable guide to the way things work in the world around you. Conducting this eye-opening tour is Professor Stephen Ressler of the United States Military Academy at West Point, an award-winning civil engineer and a nationally honored leader in engineering education.

In 36 half-hour lectures, richly illustrated with instructive physical models, computer animations, and graphics designed by Professor Ressler himself, you start by learning how a house is put together with all its subsystems. Then you move outside to trace the origin and route of water, power, and telecommunications networks. Finally, you hit the road to discover how automobiles function and how roads and highway bridges are engineered.

Along the way, Everyday Engineering investigates power plants, dams, aqueducts, railroads, communication satellites, home energy efficiency, simple machines around the house, recycling, and many other topics. No background in science or engineering is needed to follow this riveting presentation, which gives you deep insight into the underlying simplicity of the complex systems that enhance our lives.

See Familiar Things with New Eyes

As an example of how Professor Ressler can turn everyday devices into a fascinating lesson in creative problem solving, he devotes an entire lecture to the faucet, showing how the problem of delivering hot and cold water into a sink has elicited a host of solutions—some practical, others not. We are all familiar with automatic faucets in public restrooms that defeat our initial attempts to get them to work, or two-handled faucets that lack clues about which way to turn the knobs. You’ll be surprised by the subtlety of the problem and the wide array of approaches, which is typical for issues of user-centered design.

Other intriguing insights you’ll get from the course include:

  • The genius of building codes: Houses are such complex technological entities that you might think an engineer would be needed to design each one. But building codes effectively serve as a substitute for an engineer’s judgment, specifying construction methods at a high level of detail.

  • Gone with the wind: Compared to traditional masonry and timber-framed dwellings, modern light wood frame houses are so light and sturdy that it’s possible to imagine one being lifted from its foundation by the wind and transported intact far away—as happened in the classic 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz!

  • Save money and go green: Professor Ressler has plenty of advice for enhancing the energy efficiency of your home. People in the market for a new home should know about the latest trend in efficiency: the net-zero-energy house. Thanks to passive-solar design and in-home renewable energy sources, it requires no net input of energy over the course of a year.

  • Talking torque: The key to understanding how power is transmitted from an engine to the wheels of a car is the concept of torque—the tendency of a force to cause rotation—which helps explain power, acceleration, speed, fuel economy, and why internal combustion vehicles require multiple gears.

A Field Guide to Everyday Technology

Professor Ressler notes that his approach to Everyday Engineering is inspired by a very familiar genre: “Many people, myself included, find great satisfaction in identifying stars in the night sky, in distinguishing a red-tailed hawk from a turkey vulture,” he says. “The technological world is certainly no less interesting, but lacks the guidebooks available to stargazers and birdwatchers. I hope this course will provide just such a resource by serving as a sort of field guide to everyday technology.”

With this outlook and the enlightening information in these lectures, you will be able to look at the world around you and decipher mysteries such as these:

  • The unassuming utility pole: Next time you’re stuck in traffic, savor the complexity of the common utility pole, which typically has three high-voltage power distribution feeders, three insulators, and a neutral wire; and might also carry transformers, circuit breakers, low-voltage distribution lines, and telecommunications cables.

  • Ballet of the bulldozers, scrapers, and dump trucks: Ever wonder why so many kinds of earthmoving machines are needed at a highway construction site? They’re following precisely choreographed instructions on a mass diagram, with each type of vehicle moving soil according to its optimum operating range.

  • The power outage puzzle: Sometimes electrical power goes out and then seconds later returns. What’s usually happening is that a specialized circuit breaker, called a recloser, has tripped in response to a short circuit, such as a tree falling on a power line. The device automatically restores power if the fault has cleared.

  • Mystery of the missing web page: Web pages can get stuck in the process of loading, while you stare at the spinning wait cursor on the screen. The problem is usually heavy Internet traffic, which exceeds the storage capacity of a router somewhere in the network. The overflow packets of information that comprise the web page are sometimes simply lost.

One of the pleasures of Everyday Engineering is the meticulous care that Dr. Ressler has taken in preparing over 150 working models that explain everything from an arch dam to the universal joint in a car’s drive shaft. He also delights in the unexpected: in the last lecture he switches gears by examining a famous case when technology failed during the Great Northeast Blackout of 2003. Triggered by high electrical demand during a sweltering summer day, a short circuit due to overgrown trees, and a software bug that disabled a control room alarm system, the cascading series of breakdowns produced the worst-ever electric power blackout in North America.

This incident serves as a graduation exercise for the course. Having explored the workings of the electrical power grid in previous lectures, you’ll find that you understand the crisis in perfect detail. Indeed, you’ll be ready to apply your broad understanding of everyday engineering to any technological issue that crosses your path in the future.

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36 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    Engineering and Technology in Your World
    Start the course by considering how engineering and technology influence your daily life—not just high-tech devices but also ordinary machines, buildings, and infrastructure that most people take for granted. In this lecture series you will learn to notice and understand these overlooked marvels. x
  • 2
    Your House as an Engineered System
    In the first of four lectures on your house as a technological system, review the eight engineered subsystems that go into modern dwellings. Then discover the miracle of building codes, which ensure that every new house is safe, constructible, and reasonably economical without involving an engineer in each design. x
  • 3
    Three Structural Systems for Load Bearing
    Examine one of the most important aspects of modern building codes: the design of a house for structural load carrying. Focus on two of the three major approaches to this crucial function: bearing wall construction and heavy timber frame construction. Both have been used for thousands of years. x
  • 4
    Platform-Framed Housing Construction
    Turn to the third major technique for building a house: platform-framed construction, which is a flexible arrangement of lightweight modular floor platforms, wall panels, and roof trusses. This efficient approach has been widely used in the U.S. for over a century. x
  • 5
    The Building Envelope
    Now that your house is framed, it needs a building envelope that can shed rainwater and melting snow, and also keep precipitation from entering through the foundation. Learn about the five integrated layers of protection: shingles and cladding, drainage plane, insulation, vapor barrier, and drywall. x
  • 6
    Site Design and Storm Runoff
    What happens to the precipitation that falls on your house, your lot, and your neighbors’ properties? Study the problem of site design, focusing on how storm runoff is directed away from homes and returned to a natural watercourse, without causing flooding along the way. x
  • 7
    Dam, Reservoir, and Aqueduct Design
    Now consider the water that you want in your house—for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Examine the technologies that collect water from a watershed and transport it to a municipality. Explore different designs for dams, and marvel at the Catskill Aqueduct that carries fresh water to New York City. x
  • 8
    Water Treatment and Distribution
    Learn how raw water from nature is treated to make it safe for drinking. Then trace the distribution system that supplies water under pressure to users. Professor Ressler demonstrates two crucial technologies in this system: the flocculation chamber and the water tower. x
  • 9
    Wastewater Disposal and Treatment
    What happens to the 150 gallons of water that the average person uses and then sends down the drain each day? Delve into wastewater disposal and treatment. Among the details you investigate are the S-shaped trap in a waste pipe and that most ingenious of plumbing fixtures: the toilet. x
  • 10
    Fossil Fuels: Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas
    Coal, oil, and natural gas power the vast majority of electrical generating plants in use today. Learn how fossil fuels are extracted from the earth and how new technologies such as longwall mining and fracking have revolutionized the industry. Also examine some of the environmental drawbacks of these endeavors. x
  • 11
    Power Generation from Coal
    Focus on the dominant source of electricity in the U.S. today: coal. Begin by reviewing concepts from thermodynamics that explain how power plants work. Then follow the processes that turn a hopper full of coal into abundant electrical power, extracting the maximum amount of energy along the way. x
  • 12
    Oil, Gas, and Nuclear Power
    Probe the tradeoffs of oil, natural gas, and nuclear fission for generating electrical power. For example, natural gas is plentiful and flexible, but it involves fracking and produces carbon dioxide emissions. By contrast, nuclear power produces essentially zero emissions but poses potentially catastrophic safety risks. x
  • 13
    Renewable Sources of Electricity
    Survey the three most important sources of renewable energy: hydropower, wind power, and solar power. Look at the inner workings of hydroelectric dams, wind turbines, solar-thermal power stations, and photovoltaic arrays to see how each takes a renewable energy source and converts it into electricity. x
  • 14
    Electrical Power Transmission: The Grid
    Study the technological marvel called the grid—the system that transmits electricity from its point of generation to users. Learn why electrical transmission lines come in threes, why AC power is used instead of DC, and the reason transmission voltages are so high. x
  • 15
    Electrical Power Distribution
    Trace the distribution of electrical power from a substation to your home. Begin with the transformer, discovering how this crucial device functions. By the end of this lecture, you will be able to read a utility pole like a book, analyzing the different services attached to these ubiquitous structures. x
  • 16
    Everyday Thermodynamics: Refrigeration
    Unravel the secret of refrigeration by focusing on the connection between heat, temperature, work, and energy. Then see how these thermodynamic concepts apply to the vapor-compression cycle in your refrigerator or air conditioner. Discover that a heat pump operates the same way. x
  • 17
    Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning
    Explore heating, ventilating, and air conditioning—known as HVAC. Begin by learning how thermostats regulate temperature. Then review how heat transfer takes place, and investigate the pros and cons of heating with a furnace, boiler, and heat pump. See how air conditioning integrates into each of these systems. x
  • 18
    Home Energy Efficiency
    Delve into the green building movement, which promotes structures that use natural resources more efficiently while reducing environmental impact. Focus on minimizing energy consumption through a well-insulated, airtight building envelope; energy-efficient windows and doors; and energy-efficient HVAC systems and appliances. x
  • 19
    Passive Solar and Net-Zero-Energy Homes
    How much energy can you save with a properly designed house? Would you believe all of it? Trace the trend in passive solar and net-zero-energy homes that are engineered to stay comfortable year-round by exploiting sunlight in winter and shielding against it in summer, with minimal operating costs. x
  • 20
    The Plain Old Telephone Service
    Begin the first of four lectures on telecommunications technology by tracking the landline telephone system, known in the trade as “plain old telephone service.” Follow the pair of copper wires from your landline phone to the multi-pair cables strung from power poles to the all-important local exchange and beyond. x
  • 21
    The Global Telecommunications Network
    Investigate the beauty and complexity of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Optimized for transmission of the human voice, it comprises a vast array of conventional phone lines, fiber-optic cables, microwave links, and other media. Trace its evolution to the remarkable system in use today. x
  • 22
    Cellular Phone Technology
    Why is cell phone service sometimes so unpredictable? Get inside the cellular network to learn how clever engineering makes a surprisingly large number of two-way conversations possible over a very narrow broadcast spectrum. Also see how the system leads to dead spots, dropped calls, and other familiar cell phone hassles. x
  • 23
    Satellites and Satellite Communications
    Take wireless communications to a higher level: space. First master the rudiments of rockets, orbits, and satellite operations. Then focus on commercial satellite services such as television, radio, Internet, telephone, and navigation. Calculate the ideal orbit for communications satellites, and investigate the workings of the Global Positioning System. x
  • 24
    Simple Machines around the House
    Nothing embodies everyday engineering like simple machines—the basic mechanical devices used for thousands of years that we rely on more than we may realize. Probe the wonders of the inclined plane, screw, wedge, lever, wheel-and-axle, and pulley, and ponder their myriad applications. x
  • 25
    User-Centered Design
    Using the faucet as an example, study the bewildering number of ways that hot and cold water can be delivered into a sink, reflecting the challenges of designing everyday things. Along the way, consider the principles that go into a successful design: affordances, signifiers, mapping, constraints, and feedback. x
  • 26
    The Internal Combustion Engine
    Begin the first of four lectures on automotive engineering by exploring that marvel of mechanical sophistication: the internal combustion engine. Professor Ressler uses homebuilt models to demonstrate the ingenious design of the four-stroke power cycle and how it works in perfect synchrony with a host of other engine sub-systems. x
  • 27
    Torque, Power, and Transmission
    Trace the path of mechanical power from pistons to the engine crankshaft, then through the flywheel and clutch assembly to the transmission gearbox. Focus on the relationships between torque, rotational speed, and power, discovering the reason that transmissions require multiple gear ratios. x
  • 28
    The Drivetrain
    Follow the transfer of automotive power from the gearbox through the driveshaft to the differential and drive-wheels. Study working models of the universal joint and differential. Also explore the design of front-wheel drive, and peer inside an automatic transmission to expose the miracle of its smooth operation. x
  • 29
    Suspension, Steering, and Braking
    Conclude your survey of automotive engineering by studying the three systems that control a vehicle: suspension, steering, and braking. Begin with the technology that’s vital to all three: your tires. Close by analyzing the antilock braking system (ABS), learning how it works and how it knows when to engage. x
  • 30
    Highway Engineering
    Step into the work boots of a highway engineer, tasked with designing a freeway across hilly terrain to connect two other highways. Discover that features of a safe road that you take for granted—constant-radius curves, gentle grade, sturdy construction, and a well-drained surface—require detailed planning. x
  • 31
    Traffic Engineering
    Traffic engineers help to ensure the safe and efficient movement of vehicles and pedestrians within a road system. Focus on their approach to intersection design, examining the many factors that go into determining whether you’re faced with a traffic signal, an overpass, a flyover ramp, or some other means of traffic control. x
  • 32
    Everyday Bridges
    Find that everyday highway overpass bridges are more interesting than they appear. These ubiquitous structures deserve to be admired for their simplicity and practicality. Plunge into the principles of multi-girder spans, and learn that new construction techniques make highway bridges more efficient and elegant than ever. x
  • 33
    Tunnel Engineering
    Delve into tunnel engineering, a discipline every bit as impressive as bridge building, only less visible. Consider the challenges presented by the type of soil or rock being excavated for a tunnel, marvel at the work of mammoth tunnel boring machines, and weigh the tradeoffs between tunnels versus bridges. x
  • 34
    The Railroad
    Ride the rails to learn why rail transportation continues to thrive, two centuries after the modern railroad was introduced. Trace the origin of the standard rail gauge used in the U.S., probe the forces a locomotive must overcome to get rolling and then stop, and chart the rise of a revolutionary way of handling cargo: the intermodal container. x
  • 35
    Solid Waste Disposal and Recycling
    Compare the three main methods of dealing with the 700,000 tons of solid waste generated every day in the U.S.: landfill, incineration, and recycling. Explore the distinction between recycling, which is practical with many metals, and down-cycling, which is the fate of most plastics. x
  • 36
    The Future: Engineering for Sustainability
    Look beyond recycling to the higher goal of sustainability. Then close the course by considering the Great Northeast Blackout of 2003. Caused by inadequately pruned trees and a software bug, this cascading sequence of infrastructure failures holds important lessons for the world of everyday engineering. x

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Your professor

Stephen Ressler

About Your Professor

Stephen Ressler, Ph.D.
United States Military Academy, West Point
Dr. Stephen Ressler is Professor Emeritus from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). A registered Professional Engineer in Virginia, he earned a B.S. from West Point and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University, as well as a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Professor Ressler's papers on...
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Everyday Engineering: Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 205.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Models & Examples I have an engineering degree from Georgia Tech - not one of my professors were as engaging and dynamic as Dr. Ressler. I would have loved to have professors who engaged students and used real-world examples of how theory is applied.
Date published: 2019-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Understandable I had previoiusly taken his course on great structures and loved it. This one is every bit as good, maybe better. Wonderful descriptions of the intricacies of engineering a number of systems, without so much technical data that you get bogged down in it. His models, as in the other course, were very useful. Bravo!
Date published: 2019-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Practical Physics I love this course and will enjoy watching it over and over again! Physics textbooks are too theoretical. This course shows how physics is used in every day life. I am looking forward to more courses that explains how things work.
Date published: 2019-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow. A real winner Great content, instructor and production. Everyday stuff but fascinating insight. I would recommend for ANYONE with a curious mind.
Date published: 2019-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everyday Engineering Excellent. Top notch professor and course material
Date published: 2019-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful course, fun to watch I've seen all of Dr. Ressler's courses and they're all outstanding. This one does a great job of telling you enough to understand a wide range of technologies, without drilling so deep into the details as to completely mystify and frustrate you. As with his other courses, Dr. Ressler uses great, often personally made visual aids that keep things from ever getting boring. You don't have to be an engineer to enjoy this course, thanks to the superb lecturer.
Date published: 2019-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative for those who are interested in popular sciences.
Date published: 2019-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating and so well taught! I wish I had taken a course like this years ago. It was completely informative and a good preparation for homeownership. As a former science teacher the careful attention to well designed models and clear, informative motion graphics was impressive. Important concepts were introduced carefully and sequentially making it possible to understand increasingly complicated engineering applications. One small observation related to yard waste. Yard waste converted to compost by municipalities is often used by homeowners and contractors for gardens and landscaping. My municipality typically runs out by the end of the gardening season. It is proving to be very "sustainable" practice.
Date published: 2019-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent primer This is an insightful and entertaining introduction into how society functions. I wish I would have watched this course many years ago!
Date published: 2019-02-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best classes I've ever taken Because of its focus on technologies we're already somewhat familiar with, this class makes the engineering concepts really accessible. The instructor's enthusiasm is contagious, which just adds to the enjoyment. I've enjoyed this so much that I've bought it for family members as well.
Date published: 2019-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A well engineered course This is a well designed course with an excellent teacher (Stephen Ressler). If you want to learn about the engineered world in which we live, and enjoy the learning, you'll like this course.
Date published: 2019-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Life changing Course was almost perfect. Only critique is he didn't talk about traffic circles in the traffic management lecture. Always wondered why they arnt wide spread. I hear they are being pulled out in Europe where they were dominant in favor of lights where as in the states we are putting them in. Would be nice to hear the trade off.
Date published: 2019-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating! I have a large Great Courses collection and "Everyday Engineering" meets the highest standards that are provided by these courses. The subject matter is fascinating, largely unknown even to those of us who are in tangential fields of technology, and presented with an enthusiasm and clarity that is inspirational. It seems to be geared for inquisitive people but perhaps a too simple for Civil or Mechanical Engineers. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this course for those interested in the myriad systems that make modern life increasingly convenient.
Date published: 2019-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everyday Engineering wonderfully explained Dr Ressler is a magnificent teacher. His simple and descriptive explanations have finally laid to rest , questions that have been torturing me for decades
Date published: 2019-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding in every way This 2015 course illustrates the progress the company had made in refining the production aspects of their courses since the first one I took 20 years earlier. This second course by Stephen Ressler (after his 2011 course, Understanding the World's Greatest Structures) was as fascinating and well-presented as the first, with lots of models and demonstrations and consistent relevance to everyday life. I gained insight into what’s going on with the numerous houses being built in our neighborhood, understood more about how many familiar things work (toilets, refrigerators, etc), and was able to better appreciate such things as the power grid, highway engineering, and sustainable design. Very well-conceived, well-presented, and well-produced.
Date published: 2019-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this course. Great teacher, great visual aids and great content. This is not a very technical course but I think anyone would learn a lot regardless of their educational level. Highly recommend...neat stuff!
Date published: 2018-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The complex made easy I have taken several of Ressler's Great Courses, and every one of them has been excellent. His lucid style and extensive use of models to demonstrate the principles help the student grasp the principles he is discussing.
Date published: 2018-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent presentation of engineering As a fellow engineer, I appreciated the clear presentation of the various engineering applications presented in this course. I thought the instructor did a great job of explaining very complex, interconnected concepts in a clear manner. Well done!
Date published: 2018-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Teacher/Great Course This is the third Great Course taught by Dr. Stephen Ressler that I have purchased. In the present course, he is every bit as excellent a professor as in the others. His lectures are so well-organized, informative, and clear that it seems nigh on to impossible for me to think of any improvements to suggest. He also comes across as a very personable and caring teacher. Though Dr. Ressler’s field of expertise is engineering, I believe he is one of those rare professors who could successfully be a true generalist, able to do a fine job presenting almost any subject. The thirty-six lessons of “Everyday Engineering” have not just clued me in about very practical matters relevant for a home owner and technology user. I also feel sure that they have made be a better citizen, much more aware of important facts and issues about the supply and distribution of public necessities, about urban infrastructure, about resources both renewable and non-renewable, and about future engineering goals and imperatives. Thank you, Dr. Ressler, for making complex ideas so accessible and non-intimidating.
Date published: 2018-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Love This Course! I have been watching Everyday Engineering for the past month and loving every minute of it! I learned so much about so many engineering activities of everyday life that I rarely thought about or knew much about. House building, Water treatment, our sources of energy, HVAC, communications, my car, bridges, highways, etc. Professor Ressler is an entertaining and knowledgeable teacher. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2018-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good stuff, well taught Interesting survey of the engineering basis for many parts of modern life. Taught with thorough knowledge and good humor by a guy who's a bit nerdy (that's OK, so am I) but doesn't take himself too seriously. Good models and visual aids.
Date published: 2018-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good course, but don't like the packaging. The course material is excellent, but I've noticed that the Learning Company is now sending the DVDs stacked up on a single spindle in the folder. This makes them very hard to get off in sequence. The old packaging was MUCH better!
Date published: 2018-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Detail of Everyday Engineering This course should be mandatory for every high school student. What a lead in to the science and engineering to everyday products we use. It would spur students on to so many wonderful careers and creative workings. Incredible course!! Professor Ressler is thorough, colorful and a genius at explaining the technical workings of the products/processes we use everyday! Dr. Ressler is OUTSTANDING as a teacher, engineer and inspiration to learn about what our daily life needs to maintain stability in a technical society. His discussions on home building, road construction, tunnel building, internet and cell phones, just to name a are wonderful.The graphic simulations, technical models used during discussions are the BEST I have seen in any of the over 250 courses I have purchased. The Great Courses has many excellent professors, and as always a few standout as exemplars, Professor Ressler is one of them!
Date published: 2018-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative I'm a retired Mechanical Engineer and I still learned a lot from this course. The instructor is one of the best. I am planning on showing some of the classes to a robotics group at a local high school. The downside is that all six disks came stacked on top of each other rather than on six separate posts which made swapping/storing the discs very cumbersome. I hope the teaching company never uses this single post design for holding multiple DVDs again. It may be cheaper but it's not worth it for your customers.
Date published: 2018-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This should be played on prime time everywhere. If I had a say, every person would watch this at least once before leaving high school, and again in their early 30s just for good measure. I'd say mandatory, but that would make it sound dreary, when actually the course is both fascinating and practical. The instructor is well spoken, animated, and even on occasion funny. I love all the neat demos he uses to show how things work, such as turning a styrofoam plate into a speaker, very creative. The course is well put together, building on concepts and covering a broad variety of topics both simply enough for a general audience, but with enough detail to definitely know you're learning. Now I know how big cities like New York can get 100+ million gallons of drinkable water (and handle subsequent waste) every day, what 2/3/4G means in terms of cell phones, why power lines always come in 3s (3-phase power) and what those small fenced-in electrical substations are doing, or how my AC and fridge work ... etc. The care Dr. Ressler put into this course is clear, it is well worth your time and money.
Date published: 2018-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course, But Scary This is a course I bought because I wanted to fill in information I thought I "sorta knew." By the end of the last lecture it was clear I didn't really know most of the information contained in the course. But I do have a much clearer picture of the marvels of everyday engineering now, because Professor Ressler is an excellent teacher and a master in making the concepts behind complex systems pellucid. Whatever it takes to make everyday engineering comprehensible, charts, graphs, pictures, drawings, working models, even jokes, Professor Ressler will use to convey information. So why is the word "scary" in my review title? Because by the end of the course i realized just how vulnerable and how dependent we have become on everyday engineering. What would happen if, due to a man made or natural disaster, bridges fall, roads collapse, power grids are offline and refrigerators, gas pumps, dialysis machines and deliver systems were compromised over a large area. In short, what would we do if mainland America found itself in the same situation as Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Maybe it's time to start thinking about it now. Maybe Professor Ressler could come up with a course of new ideas about recovering our everyday engineering marvels that would help.
Date published: 2018-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Professor Ressler has a great delivery style of information. Combined with the scores of digital and physical models for demonstration of concepts along with the scores of photographs, the material was easily understood and the concepts conveyed. He also presents many mathematical formulas that would allow the student to do his/her own calculations later, but, importantly, does not make the math necessary to understanding the lessons. I feel I have a much clearer understanding of the world us that mostly goes unnoticed or ignored. Fascinating material, wonderfully presented and illustrated, kept my attention through this whole course.
Date published: 2018-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engineering in daily lives. Professor Ressler brings to life the engineering that is a part of our daily lives with such simplicity and elegance. He explains how things work that we use and take for granted such as water systems, electricity, automobiles and cell phones to name just a few. I strongly recommend this and all of Professor Ressler's course to those who wonder how things work.
Date published: 2018-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very appropriate and captures your attention Just started on the first lectures after receiving it several days ago but being a retired engineer I find the course content and depth of detail refreshing. So far all the courses I have ordered and that is a wide variety have met or exceeded my expectations. I plan on ordering other courses by this professor.Thanks.
Date published: 2018-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting! I have been watching about two of these episodes at a time. They are very informative, and the professor is just a good teacher. I bought another one of this professor's Great Courses, the DIY Engineering. I highly recommend this series.
Date published: 2018-06-27
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