You know the story… Super Bowl XLVII, the Baltimore Ravens lead the San Francisco 49ers 28-6, when all of the sudden… the lights went out. Officials were scrambling, players were pacing the field, and fans were eager to get back in the action. Super Bowl XLVII will live on in infamy for the 34-minute delay caused by a power outage. So how do things like this happen at such crucial times, and, more importantly, who gets called in to deal with them?
Forensic engineer, and Cool Jobs alum, Dr. John Palmer answered the call to determine what caused the blackout at the Super Bowl. Forensic engineers like Dr. Palmer are charged with investigating fires, explosions, and electrical system failures. Ironically, Dr. Palmer’s analysis of the power outage at the Super Bowl narrowed the cause of the event to “an electrical relay device that [was] installed specifically to prevent a power failure at the dome.” (source:espn.go.com)
But this investigation was not an unusual workday in the career of Dr. Palmer. His job calls him to investigate product or system failures, and he focuses, in particular, on cause and origin analysis of electrical accidents, electrical equipment failures, electrical fires, structural fires, vehicle fires, and explosions. The scope of the investigations he conducts ranges from house fires started by a toaster to large power plant explosions resulting in 600 million dollars in damages. If there’s one thing Dr. Palmer can count on from his job, it is a wide variety of projects!
To learn more about Dr. Palmer’s cool job as a forensic engineer, be sure to check out his original Cool Jobs interview!