Professor Travels to UK to Celebrate Civil Engineering Achievements


Erin D. McKenzie

Jerry Rogers, an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Houston, was among a select few to be present at a wreath laying ceremony this month for a famed London train and bridge engineer.

The ceremony, marking the 150th anniversary of Robert Stephenson’s death, was held at Westminster Abbey. Rogers was among only 10 selected to attend the event.

“In my sense, this was kind of like the frosting on the cake,” said Rogers. “A trip to the United Kingdom with the chance to be able to commemorate a famous civil engineer like Robert Stephenson at Westminster Abbey is just tops. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.”

Rogers, a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), had made the trip to the United Kingdom to research several famous civil engineers from the area for a book being produced by ASCE members detailing the lives and careers of those well known to the field.

Stephenson is not only credited with collaborating to build one of the first modern steam locomotives, but also constructing a number of well-known bridges, including the Newcastle High Bridge and the Conway Tubular Box Bridge.

Two days following Rogers’ attendance at the Stephenson anniversary, he celebrated the works of another famous civil engineer, John Fredrick Bateman, during a 150th anniversary celebration honoring Queen Victoria’s opening of the Loch Katherine aqueduct, establishing a clean water supply to Glasgow, Scotland.

These experiences as well as research done on the trip on a handful of other UK civil engineers will be included in the book, due out in late 2010.

Rogers first joined UH in 1970. As a researcher, he has focused on storm water management, drainage engineering, water distribution and urban growth planning. He has conducted research and made recommendations related to these areas for the cities of Pearland, Conroe, Houston and others. The son of a railroad brakeman, Rogers recently penned a paper on the early history of railroads he plans to present at the ASCE fall meeting in late October.


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