Monday, August 13, 2007

Midrashic Architectural Engineering Advice

This is a question for all those frum mechanical engineers or architects out there:

The Midrash Rabbah on Eichah states:

"If any object's width is not a third of its height, it cannot stand!"

Although this must be true at some level, I am wondering if the pshat understanding is in fact correct? From what I remember, as long as the center of mass is above the base, the object will stand. I assume the Midrash is talking about a free-standing structure - i.e. no underground base or support. Also if we are talking about an object of constant density, does the stability of balancing the object become sensitive after the width-height ratio mentioned in the Midrash?

In either case, does anyone know of a deeper explanation (if any)?

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