The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 88 (2010) > Issues > Issue 10 > Paper Gold Medal Address 2010: Engineering an idea
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Paper Gold Medal Address 2010: Engineering an idea

I am very humbled to be here tonight to receive the Gold Medal from the Institution of Structural Engineers. The Institution is unequalled as a professional organisation of structural engineers. To be a Fellow was one of my lifetime goals; to receive the Gold Medal was beyond my dreams. The list of previous recipients of the Gold Medal includes the names of engineers I have admired throughout my entire professional career.

It is especially poignant to receive the award in London, as modern structural engineering was essentially invented in Great Britain during the Industrial Revolution. As highways and railroads spread across the country, rivers and valleys needed to be crossed on bridges that could bear heavy loads. In response to this need, British engineers of the period left us with structures that demonstrate they had very clear ideas of function and form. Long before any of the modern computational tools we currently have, these individuals were creating structures that are beautiful, elegant, and intellectually correct based on first principles and a fundamental understanding of structures.

William F. Baker, PE, CE, SE, BSc, MSc, FIStructE, FASCE
Partner, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, Chicago