Episode 17 – Metrologically Speaking

I hope you’re strapped in tight for this one, Techies… We’ve got a really exciting topic for you this time – Rulers! … Er, sorry, I mean LASERS!


Don’t worry, it’s not an autonomous robot.

On this episode of Technically Speaking, Joe and Jacob are joined by Engineer Extraordinaire and Laser aficionado, Jared Clark! Jared works with lasers (of the non-lethal variety) to scan and measure aircraft parts to within ten-thousanths of an inch(!), and happens to be very enthusiastic about a topic that very few people have heard of before: Metrology.

Metrology is, in a nutshell, the study of measurement. It is the extremely complex answer to the deceivingly simple question of “How do we measure something consistently and accurately?” We attempt to explain the nuances of why Metrology is important (while avoiding the terrible-horrible-awful-nogood “Dartboard” analogy that most of us have seen in school), and ask the tough questions at the heart of measurement-science. How are standards of measurement made? Why is it important that everyone use the same measurement standard? Was Napoleon actually short? Listen to find out!

Then, we test-out Joe’s new Micro-Segment which Jacob is hereby naming “Who Wants To Be An Engineer?” In this new segment, each new Engineering guest we have on will tell us a little bit about their degree, and what they could have done with their degree (not just what they have done with it). Jared is our lucky first test subject, and it turns out he has the perfect degree to analyze: Mechanical Engineering. What can Mechanical Engineers do as a career? (Answer: Practically anything).

And though this episode runs a little long, we could never leave you without your beloved Brainstorm! This week’s Brainstorm comes to us from listener Schlomo, who wants to know how we could make the summit of Mount Everest accessible to anyone, and not just professional mountaineers. What would the summit look like? (Possibly like Pike’s Peak?) How would we get people to the top? What are the challenges associated with the design and construction?  (Unfortunately, none of us are civil engineers, and we’ve never been to Everest. So we throw around a few guesses when it comes to building on ice-covered mountains and the travel distances involved, but at least we admit when we don’t know.)

What do you think? Do you think Everest could become a tourist attraction? Or do you think that the more important question is should we do it? Let us know with an email, a comment on Facebook, a shout-out on Twitter, or a comment below! Or, if you like our answer, leave us a review on iTunes!

Run Time: 1:16:59

Music: “The High Road” – Broken Bells

Posted in Episodes
2 comments on “Episode 17 – Metrologically Speaking
  1. Patrick says:

    Just wanted to say I really enjoyed this episode and especially the brainstorming segment. I think the last two brainstorming segments have been among the best and think having a third chair for it this time added quite a lot. It was great having a third mind tackling the problem with a fresh perspective.

  2. Juliana says:

    During the brainstorming segment, I imagined you three in the same coat Scotty wears in the 2009 Star Trek pointing with great thought saying and here’s where the gift shop goes. Also that laser looks WAY more like a personality sphere from Portal than R2-D2.

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