Fish got to swim, birds got to fly, and engineering students got to do wild and wacky things.
For instance: designing, building, and racing canoes made of concrete.
And nowhere do they do it better than at UC Berkeley, where the California Concrete Canoe team has qualified for the finals of the National Concrete Canoe Competition — aka “the America’s Cup of Civil Engineering” — a record 19 times and won the title a record five times since the competition, sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, began in the 1960s.
“Because this is such a ridiculous challenge, it’s a ton of fun and a way to prove we can build anything we set our minds to," says Alvin Wong, this year’s project leader. "In addition, most engineering departments, especially Berkeley, are very theoretical. This gives us practical experience in working with a material we’ll be using a lot for the rest of our careers.”