With completion of the transcontinental railway, a bridge across the Missisippi was needed so that trains would pass through St. Louis. The Eads Bridge was a project they said couldn't be done. Old Man River is treacherous, and this would be the longest span yet built. Engineer James Eads had never built a bridge, but he was intimately familiar with the River. He also used a new materiel, steel. Finished in 1874, the Eads Bridge pioneered the way for others like the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It's arched form is reflected in the Gateway Arch, from which this photo was taken.
Eero Saarinen's Arch is also called Gateway to the West. Pioneers crossed the river into an unknown future. Most of them headed West knowing that succeed or fail they would never return home. Kea has suggested that this is the true way to colonise Mars. Saving all that return fuel would make settling another planet far easier. Who knows what monuments will be built to Space pioneers?
Monday's talk was attended by well over 100 people, more than saw Ed Witten last December. (Witten still gets more press.) Immediately afterward lunch was scheduled with Lawrence Krauss, who also doubts the Concorde Cosmology. We saw cosmologists struggle with Powerpoint and "dark energy," while a solution was right under their nose. The life of a pioneer is exciting, but never easy.