Brady Heywood Podcast

Join forensic engineer Sean Brady as he discusses engineering failures and disasters. Sean examines both the technical and human causes of failure, explores failures in a range of professions, and talks about why our decision making is not nearly as rational as we’d like to think.

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Join forensic engineer Sean Brady as he discusses engineering failures and disasters. Sean examines both the technical and human causes of failure, explores failures in a range of professions, and talks about why our decision making is not nearly as rational as we’d like to think.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-09-23 19:43
last episode published
2019-09-12 12:13
publication frequency
43.31 days
Sean Brady owner   author  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Technology Society & Culture Education History Educational Technology



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Episode 26 – Apollo 13: Addendum

Want to take a deep dive behind the scenes of our Apollo 13 podcast series? Want to know the cause of the failure? Then this podcast is for you. We’ll talk about each episode, cover the technical material we left out, discuss the cause, and even chat a...

Episode 25 - Apollo 13 V: Steely-Eyed Missile Men

Apollo 13 is about to undertake one of the most improvised and dangerous re-entries ever attempted by NASA. Will John Aaron and the Tiger Team figure out how to power back up the Command Module in time? Has the heat shield been damaged? Are their parac...

Episode 24 - Apollo 13 IV: Star Sailors

The crew of Apollo 13 begin their long fall to earth. In this entire episode we stay with the crew as they go around the moon, fight to keep their LEM functioning and their trajectory correct - all while their spacecraft begins to freeze around them. T...

Episode 23 - Apollo 13 III: The Tiger Team

"I don’t give a damn about the odds and I don’t give a damn that we’ve never done anything like this before. You’ve got to believe, your people have got to believe, that this crew is coming home." Gene Kranz to the Tiger Team, Room 210, April 1970. The...

Episode 22 - Apollo 13 II: The Lifeboat

Following the explosion, the three astronauts and Mission Control fight to save the dying spacecraft. And Gene Kranz assembles a team to tackle an impossible rescue.  A new episode will be released every Thursday. The series is accompanied by bonus mat...

Episode 21 – Apollo 13 P1: Head for the Hills

Apollo 13 is 200,000 miles from earth when it’s crippled by an explosion. On board are astronauts Jack Swigert, Fred Haise, and Commander Jim Lovell. In this five-part series we follow the story of the three astronauts, as well as the scores of people ...
Sean Brady author

Episode 20 - Apollo 13 Teaser

Listen to our Apollo 13 teaser, with actual audio from its launch on 11 April 1970. In the New Year we will tackle the story of Apollo 13. In this episode we chat about the podcast journey so far and we discuss the new episodes currently in the plannin...

Episode 19 - Stranger than Fiction

The collapse of the I40 bridge in 2002 was a tragedy, but its aftermath was a story you simply couldn't make up. It begins with a barge, a bridge, and an impostor, and it ends with a prison sentence, Vladimir Putin, and cheque fraud in Alaska Follow on...

Episode 18 - Quebec Bridge Collapse

Can ego knock a bridge down? How one man's decisions caused the collapse of the Quebec Bridge. The Royal Commission Report into the collapse can be found at

Episode 17 - Earthquakes, Financial Crashes, and Dinosaurs

Why do the really big catastrophes happen? The earthquakes, the financial crashes, and even the outbreak of the First World War. In this episode we dive into the weird world of complexity theory.  Follow the podcast on twitter @BradyHeywoodPod Mark Buc...

Episode 16 - The Comet Aircraft Crashes

The aircraft crashes that changed the world of aviation. And the reason aircraft windows aren't square. A number of books cover the crash of the aircraft, but Henry Petroski's To Engineer is Human is one of the best:

Episode 15 - Minneapolis Highway Bridge Collapse

On 1 August 2007 at 6:05 pm, during rush hour traffic, the I35-W Highway Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapsed into the Mississippi River. We’ll look at how a bridge could suddenly collapse after 40 years of service. And we’ll ask was there an iss...

Episode 14 - Hanging Garden of Babylon

Did the Hanging Garden of Babylon actually exist or was it myth? And why bother talking about it in this podcast? Because apart from whether or not the Garden existed, or more importantly where it was located, the story of its history is fascinating. B...

Episode 13 - Brooklyn Bridge Part 2

With doctors saying her husband is dying, Emily Warren Roebling sets out on a path to see the great bridge through to completion. Read more at The next episode of the Brady Heywood Podcast will be released...

Episode 12 - Brooklyn Bridge Part 1

The greatest engineering challenge of the age. A male dominated profession. One woman. Emily Warren Roebling. Read more at

Episode 11 - Tacoma Bridge Collapse

The collapse of the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge is one of the world's most recognised structural failures. Were there any warnings from history that this failure could have occurred, and more importantly, if failures like this had ever happened at...

Episode 10 - Virgin Galactic Crash

The tragic crash of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft carries lessons for all of us. Do failures happen because humans make mistakes? Or do they happen because we design systems that ultimately fail us as humans? Detailed article on the disaster can be fo...

Episode 9 - Why Expertise Can Hold Us Back

What does a stadium collapse, baseball, fire fighting, and taking a shower have in common? In this episode we explore the concept of expertise and ask does it have a dark side? Indeed, can failures sometimes occur precisely because we possess expertise...

Episode 8 - The West Gate Bridge Collapse

What is not well known about the West Gate Bridge collapse in Melbourne, Australia in 1970 was that it was only one of a string of similar bridge failures that happened around the world. The failures highlighted that the engineering profession’s unders...

Episode 7 - Heart Attacks: Is Less Information More?

What can heart attack diagnosis tell us about engineering failures? Perhaps not much directly, but it does provide fascinating insight into whether or not more information really leads to better decision making. This episode examines the story of ...

Episode 6 - Corporate Memory Loss: The Malahide Collapse

While the technical cause of failure of the Malahide Viaduct in Ireland was straight-forward, the human factor that collapsed the bridge was a relatively new phenomenon: corporate memory loss.   Detailed article on the collapse can be found at http://w...

Episode 5 - Organ Donation Rates and Engineering Failures

Organ donation rates provide surprising insight into how we as humans make rational decisions. This podcast looks at this insight and examines how it can play a role in engineering failure, specifically examining the 2007 collapse of the I-35W Highway ...

Episode 4 - The Citicorp Tower Crisis

In 1978 an engineering design error was discovered in the Citicorp Tower in Manhattan. It was so serious that it threatened the tower’s integrity. This is the story of how it was found and the race against time to fix it. Detailed article can be found ...

Episode 3 - The Role of Forensic Engineers in Legal Disputes

What is the difference between a forensic structural engineer, as opposed to an ‘ordinary’ structural engineer? And what are the roles of these two very different types of engineers in legal disputes? Detailed article can be found at http://www.bradyhe...

Episode 2 - The Hyatt Regency Collapse

The structural collapse of walkways at the Hyatt Regency in 1981 was one of the most devastating collapses in US history. 114 died, over 200 were injured – needing the emergency rooms of 17 hospitals to treat them. We look at the story from the perspec...

Episode 1 - Welcome to the Brady Heywood Podcast

Welcome to the Brady Heywood podcast – the podcast where we look at engineering failures and disasters. My name is Sean Brady, and I’m a forensic structural engineer, which means I investigate the causes of engineering failures. And while I usually foc...