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Hans Gesund to Retire; Submit Your Gesundisms!

October 12, 2020

At the end of the fall 2020 semester, civil engineering professor Hans Gesund will retire as the longest-serving professor at the University of Kentucky— ever.

At the end of the fall 2020 semester, civil engineering professor Hans Gesund will retire as the longest-serving professor at the University of Kentucky— ever.

Born in Vienna, Austria, Gesund moved to the United States in 1940. He joined the UK Department of Civil Engineering in 1958 after earning his Ph.D. from Yale University. A specialist in reinforced concrete, Gesund also held a joint appointment in Architecture and Historic Preservation.

Known for his quick wit in the classroom, he has uttered many “Gesundisms,” which have been collected over the years. Below is a list, which is certainly incomplete.



When I was growing up, we didn't have TV. George Washington and I came from a deprived background.

I don't blame you for not wanting to carry this book around, but it's good preparation for the military.

The contractor will prefer no shoring... 'shore' enough. Sorry 'bout that one.

Let's face it, this stuff is not a James Bond Novel. This stuff'II put you to sleep…they're almost as bad as what I write."

The rest of the world is metric. We're a lonesome pole-cat. You understand why pole-cats are lonesome? They don't use deodorant.

I had a 252 in.3 engine once. It had almost about as much pep as a snail. O to 60 in about 2 hours.

My wife keeps telling me she married me for better or for worse, but not for lunch.

Gesund predicting the future: By then we'll all be radioactive. That'd save a lot of energy. We'd all glow in the dark.

Aluminum works in planes, steel makes 'em too heavy. They can't get off the ground. We try to keep our buildings from flying away.

I just happened to bring along some Kleenex...comes in big rolls...in toilet paper containers.

Who has a widget? Nobody has a widget?

We always wear both a belt and suspenders when we design. Take no chances.

If it moves ... run.

If it hasn't cracked, it isn't concrete.

All's weld that ends weld.

Next time we'll boldly get into bolts.

How 'bout a definite maybe.

You know the difference between a rolled edge and a shear edge? Run your hand along the edge ... if you're all bloody, it's shear.

Structural engineers kill people wholesale. Physicians kill people one at a time.

I'm always worried when I go to the doctor's office and his desk calendar came from a funeral home. 

If Washington was a structural engineer, we wouldn't have that picture of him crossing the Delaware, standing on the front of the boat with everyone else rowing. He'd have built a bridge!

We'll talk about fatigue later; I'm tired of it already.

Fatigue ... A very tiresome subject.

That's a no good question. No good question goes unanswered.

All I know about chemistry is if you take a match and put it to a candle, it lights. And if you put it in water, it goes out. 

Alright... I'm gonna get you bent out of shape.

I'm a geek. I can't help that. I even listen to classical music in addition to being an old fogy.

I never liked any games. I never even liked playing marbles in the sandbox.

The final is comprehensive and Incomprehensible.

Bridges take too long to build. People forgot who gave them the money. But if you pave a road, people will come vote for you.

Steel is about $0.80 per pound, which is still cheaper than hamburger…but it's hard to chew.

Somebody tells a bad joke and the slabs crack right up. That's why there are cracks in here, because I lecture in here.

There are very few two-dimensional buildings…except in an ant farm.

Never argue with the guy that signs your checks.

I realize there's a profusion of confusion with this thing.

It's like the pharmaceutical ads: take this pill and all your troubles are over…because it kills.

Last time we talked a little about torsion, and I got you slightly twisted up.

If that cold doesn't kill me I'll live forever.

When rho prime equals zero, lambda equals squiggle.



Student: lf I get 9.6 rebars for the column, do I round up?

Gesund: You don't have to do any rounding ... rebar's already round.

Student: What is your test format?

Gesund: I get really testy about it. Student: How about a take-home exam?

Gesund: You’re talking about the honor system. I’ve got the honor, you’ve got the system.

Student: What’s your best advice for a young engineer?

Gesund: Become a doctor. Go to dental school. There, you’ll be building bridges all the time.

Student: Have you ever worked on any dam designs?

Gesund: I’ve damned many designs.

Student: What’s the score of the UK-Florida game going to be?

Gesund: I don’t know…ask me Monday!

Student: Where did you get 0.9 in that equation?

Gesund: (licks index finger and sticks it above his head) Wind’s from the west!