As an engineering student, it is essential to remain up to date with today’s fast progressing world. The latest cutting edge technology allows for more precise results, new innovative techniques, and more complex processes. As new principles and practices are introduced, they are accepted, learned and rationalized. Although the principles of engineering are constantly being updated and revised, very seldom does one look into the processes through which these conclusions are created and refined by.
After completing my third year as a civil engineering student and spending the past semester studying steel design, I have become very familiar with the AISC Construction Manual, or as my friends like to call it, my Steel Bible. The AISC Construction Manual is a fairly large book of specifications for steel design, it covers essentially everything needed to design steel structures, including theory, calculations and reference material. As a student the Steel Bible was law, and its contents went, for the most part, unchallenged.
My examination of the Fisher Papers gave me an entirely new view into the field of engineering, one that focused on the creation and implementation of practices, rather than the use of the practices themselves. John W. Fisher, now retired professor of structural engineering at Lehigh University, was part of the AISC Committee on Specification for many years. His files include a vast amount of correspondence between himself and other members debating additions and adaptations to the AISC Construction Manual. The documentation allows for an inside look at the process by which the material I so easily accepted was determined by.
The AISC Manual Today
John Fisher’s revisions on the specification
By Meghan Briden