Complexity and Specialization

It is a long time since Leonardo da Vinci, the last ”universal genius” and the last to be the foremost in mechanics, painting, engineering, anatomy etc. Since then evolution has taken the shape of specialization.

For some time specialization did not mean incomprehensilibity. The construction drawing of a bridge from 1866 is still, in some ways, immediately understandable to most, although most of us realize that making such a drawing - or worse still - making such bridges - is way beyond our capabilities.

However this century in order to advance, the specialists’ field has become narrower and narrower, and the requirements of mastery become higher and higher. So does the level of complexity, which should be amply illustrated by this small example of a technical drawing from an oil platform in 1984. We might add that the documentation for this module of the platform filled a whole room of 30 square meters.


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Details from plan for a movable bridge in 1866. (BBA: 743:Ta:1, foto GSJ)

Details from welding plan, the main deck of an oil platform 1984. (LAB/BBA:1704: T, Photo: GSJ)