Shortlisted entries 2013

Standing Proud

Standing ProudStanding Proud
Nicholas  Higham

The Hilton Tower (or Beetham Tower), seen here against a dark, stormy Manchester sky, was the tallest residential building in Europe at the time of its construction in 2006. The slender, 47-storey design of the building used finite element analysis to model the structure in order to ensure that the building is stable under all loads and weather conditions. Finite element analysis relies on the accurate computer solution of large systems of equations with millions of unknowns. Techniques developed in the School of Mathematics in Manchester enable the accuracy of such solutions to be estimated and can even identify errors in a model and pinpoint for the engineer where in the model the mistake lies. The engineers who built of the Refuge Assurance building (Palace Hotel) in the foreground did not have the luxury of computers and modern mathematics, but their building has nevertheless lasted over a century.

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