seal  Purdue News

October 16, 2003

Lecturer will discuss art of blasting

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – An expert in rock blasting will give a lecture at Purdue University on the creation of a nearly 600-foot-tall South Dakota monument.

Charles Dowding, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern University, will present "Carving Crazy Horse: Art and Engineering of Blasting Massive Rock Monuments" at 3:30 p.m. Friday (10/17) in the Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering, Room 302. The lecture is free and open to the public.

He will discuss the carving of a sculpture of Native American hero Crazy Horse into the side of one of South Dakota's Black Hills. Tens of millions of tons of granite and other rock have been blasted from the hill during work on the statue, which will be the world's largest mountain sculpture, and Dowding's talk will focus on the engineering feat of removing the rock.

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began carving the giant statue in 1948. Work continues more than 50 years later, but because of weather, funding issues and engineering concerns, officials have not set a completion date.

Dowding is a member of the board of directors of the Society of Explosive Engineers and the American Rock Mechanics Association.

He is the founder of Digital Vibration Inc., the first company to perfect remote digital blast vibration monitoring in the early 1980s. He has written widely in the field of geotechnical engineering and is best known for three books "Construction Vibrations," "Blast Vibration Monitoring and Control" and "Pulsing TDR Cables and Probes."

He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado and a doctoral degree from the University of Illinois, was a Royal Norwegian Fellow at the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute and taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to Northwestern.

The lecture is part of the Geotech Area Seminar Series and is sponsored by the School of Civil Engineering and Sigma Xi, which is a global science and engineering scholarly society that brings together scientists from across disciplines to exchange ideas.

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073,

Source: Connie Weaver, president of Purdue's Sigma Xi chapter, (765) 494-8237,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Related Web site:
Crazy Horse Memorial

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