School children choose a name for Japan-built Tunnel Boring Machine

School children choose a name for Japan-built Tunnel Boring Machine

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Image: TBM in Osaka, Japan

School children across the Seattle area entered 150 different possible names for the SR 99 tunnel boring machine that will help to rebuild Seattle's waterfront viaduct in a recent contest. The winning entry is Bertha, named after Seattle’s 1926 Mayor Bertha Knight Landes – the first woman to lead a major American city.  Ms. Knight Landes also historically led University of Washington - sponsored student study groups to the Far East from 1933 to 1936. Here's a quote from Mayor Landes' husband Henry,

“It’s simply the natural enlargement of her sphere. Keeping house and raising a family are a woman’s logical tasks, and in principle, there’s no difference between running one home and a hundred thousand.”

Bertha Knight Landes met her husband during their student years at the University of Indiana. In 1895, they moved to Seattle where he worked as professor of geology and later Dean of the College of Sciences at the University of Washington.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct is being rebuilt due to studies of continuing ground settlement near Seattle's Elliot Bay which were conducted by a group of researchers and faculty from the University of WashingtonHitachi Zosen Corp. in Osaka, Japan was chosen to build the tunnel boring machine (TBM) or shield tunneling machine to do the work. Crews of engineering technology specialists in Osaka have spent the past 14 months manufacturing its parts from scratch. The result will be the world’s largest-diameter tunnel boring machine. The TBM is five stories tall and 57.5 feet in diameter and is scheduled to arrive in Seattle, WA early in 2013. It will start digging the Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel beneath downtown Seattle beginning in the summer of 2013.

Let us know your opinions on mechanical engineering technology, the TBM, Bertha Knight Landes, and today's women in politics. We'd love to hear them!