Watch the demolition (unbuilding) of the Grace and Pearman Bridges
(old Cooper River Bridges)
The Bridge Blog A dialog about our new bridge and these web pages
Schools and universities are all about learning - and learning is mostlly
brain training. Learning is expedited by repetition and forgetting
is expedited by infrequent use of learned skills or information.
Tracking the building of the Ravenel Bridge and now tracking the
demolition of the Grace and Pearman Bridges bring
many questions to me and help me better understand the role Google
and the Internet play in
just-in-time learning. I enjoy chasing my curiosity and
want to identify ways to encourage younger learners to also enjoy curiosity
chasing and learning.
Many young learners do not understand the importance of repetition. More
important, while experienced learners understand the learning process
they often do not realize the destructive effects of the forgetting
process. Over the course of the
bridge project, I have access to only a few experts.
Rather than a liability, this has become an asset and pushed me to improve
my search skills with Google. Soon, I realized that answers
to questions encountered during my photo adventures were often
only a Google-search away. Gene Stead,
my first boss and I put these ideas together in a small essay:
Restoring the Joy in Learning).
Google + Internet have become dependable extensions of my memory.
Insights I gain from you and this project will find their way into the
learning centers in our schools and universities.
My professional life has centered around the fun of learning and my
has always been within universities. Each step of my academic career
has been fun and full of surprises - both scientific and cultural.
For 32 years I was a
faculty member at Duke in the
Departments of Medicine (Cardiology) and Computer Science. During this time
I was fortunate to stumble on the fun of international collaboration - in
France, Germany, Egypt, Spain, the USSR, starting in 1987 in Moscow at the
Center for Experimental and Clinical Cardiology. In 1991, I shifted my
Krinsky's Autowave laboratory
in the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental
Biophysics in Pushchino, about 100 km south of Moscow. In parallel, I
extended my experiments with other cultures and taught for a year (1993-94) in
India (the Indian Institute
of Technology, Madras) and more recently (1997-1998) in
Greece (where I was a
Scholar at the University of Patras and most recently, developed a link
University of Mostar, Bosnia in
2000 and in 2001.
Now I am about to embark on another cultural adventure. The Government of
Singapore and Duke University have signed a memorandom of understanding to
build a new Graduate Medical School in Singapore. I have signed to be
part of the new faculty - led by Pat Casey in Singapore and Sandy
Williams at Duke. For
Ellen and myself, this is a like a trip back home - putting us within a few
hours flight time of our friends in South India, Bangladesh and Thailand. I
have signed a 3 year contract and will be the Associate Dean for Learning
Technologies - a continuation of my career as an engineer in the setting of
Medical Education. In addition, I suspect there will be a new Building
web site, tracking the construction of the Duke - GMS building.
The bridge building and unbuilding web sites will continue. With the members
of my former IT Lab at MUSC, we have established a server -
Butterfat that will act as an Internet
home base for these sites, and those of
web page to butterfat (
mine and my
IT Lab colleagues).
Sparky and the iron workers (Nugget and Speedy) have offered to continue
to photograph the progress with unbuilding the Grace and Pearman Bridges.
They will send me photos and the stories and I shall try to maintain the
continuity of the unbuilding process from Singapore. This will form
the core of another Frank Experiment - can we sustain our momentum
with participants located half way around the world from each
other. In addition, I shall
lean on my unbuilding friends at Jay Cashman and Testa - Ken Canty, Ponch
Billingsley, Mickey Rogers and Ken Tully at Advanced Blasting Services and the
families of Michael Hebb, Richie Bagan and Jack Foley.
You cannot imagine how much
new life and energy these folks have brought into the lives of Frank and
Ellen Starmer in Charleston.
I am certain that there will be building and unbuilding opportunities in
Singapore and the surrounding area. For example, Oliver Forget (Freyssinet)
is now located in Bangkok and is building a new cable stay bridge there.
Marvin Tallent is in Pensacola and Peo Halvarsson is in the process of
moving back to Sweden. I shall continue to poke these friends and tell their