Sunday, December 02, 2012

Ups & Downs

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Ups and Downs of Making Elevators Go

November 30, 2012, 7:50 p.m. ET

By KATE LINEBAUGH

You press a button and wait for your elevator. How long before you get impatient and agitated? Theresa Christy says 20 seconds.

As a mathematician steeped in the theories of vertical transportation at Otis Elevator Co., Ms. Christy, 55, has spent a quarter-century developing systems that make elevators run as perfectly as possible—which means getting most riders into a car in less than 20 seconds. "Traditionally, the wait time is the most important factor," she says. "The thing people hate the most is waiting."

Developed in the 19th century, elevators transformed urban living, real estate markets and skylines around the world. As an Otis research fellow, Ms. Christy gets to work on the toughest problems and on signature projects like the 1,483-foot-high Petronas Towers in Malaysia, for a time the world's tallest building.

Read the rest here.

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