You might not know it, but it's National Engineering Week. And the University of Tulsa is celebrating with a bridge-building contest.
And it's not child's play. At least, that's what they're telling us. News on Six reporter Steve Berg explains they are some of TU's best and brightest. And they're playing with Legos. "Reinforce the top and bottom."
Sure they've mastered calculus and physics, but little plastic bricks, that's a whole other story. "How strong is it?" "I don't know.â€ The rules like the toys are pretty simple. The students have 30 minutes. "I wonder what our time is?" The bridge has to be 12 inches long. And it has to be wide enough to accommodate, what else? A Hot Wheel car. And of course only the soundest engineering principles are at work. (Bridge snaps) "Thatâ€™s where it's weak!" (Laughter) "There are definitely engineering principles at work, if you look at the bridges that have been built so far. They either have reinforced beams that overlap or they have arches somewhere involved."
Steve Berg: "Are you actually applying engineering theory to this? Student: "Nah its Legos." Steve Berg: "Just slappin' it together." Student: "yeah." Steve Berg: "Is that how they build real bridges?" Student: "I think so."
But they don't necessarily have to look like bridges. "I'll give you that some of the bridges are not the prettiest things in the world." That's not the only thing that doesn't make sense. "What are the engineering principles behind your hair?" But lo and behold, the bridge held a ton of weight or 85-hundred grams at least, before it collapsed. Can you say Lego Lawsuit? But forget engineering, for a Lego Bridge, the most important thing is can it stand up to Godzilla?
Steve Berg: "Do you think your parents knew this is how their tuition money would be spent?" Student: "Probably not."