If Eiffel had SolidWorks, would Marie Sophie Germain make the short list?

In the week where major retailers have pulled from their shelves the girls TshirtsAllergic to Algebra” and “ I am too pretty for homework so my brother has to do it for me”, I find myself in at a Bricorama hardware store outside of Paris on a rainy Sunday to walk off some steam.  I really thought retailers had stopped targeting this junk to girls. It didn't bother me when I was little, but it bugs me now when I have a daughter and I have been involved with so many great mentors and teachers who have programs to get more girls into science and engineering.  I was going to write about the Sketch Text tool and Wrap feature today.  But that will be in a few paragraphs.


The hardware store's escalator draws me to the top floor where I am face to face with a 5 foot square canvas  of the Eiffel Tower with its focus on the Northwest platform.  There,  I realized that the tower contained the names of LaPlace, Lagrange, Legendre, Navier who  resulted in my foundation of applied mechanics.  After all these years, I never realized these famous engineers, mathematicians and scientists grace the most popular structure in Paris.  Their names were once painted over, are now preserved. 

I asked my DS colleague, Herve  for my French history lesson, and he proceeded to tell me the names highlighted scientific achievements from the time of the French revolution to 1889.  He provided me this great link .  I was so excited to see the work I studied from Amphere (Amp), Poisson, Coulomb, Fourier,  and others be recognized.  I spent countless hours studying their theories.  With Paris map in hand, these too are street names in and around Paris.  

I searched the list for my heroines: Marie Sophie Germain and Marie Curie.  I did a quick math problem to realize that Marie Curie received the Nobel Prize 1903, so she was probably too young.  But what about Marie Sophie Germain?  Certainly her elasticity, geometry, and number theories would have been consulted at the time of Eiffel’s construction?  Perhaps it was because she was self educated and learned geometry from her father’s library books?  Herve told me that some names were not selected  for the tower because they were too long.  But since Marie Sophie Germain was not allowed at the university and wrote under a male name, it was probably not even considered during this time in history.

Luckily as the years went on Marie Sophie Germain had a street, school and hotel named after her.  And well Marie Curie, she has a univerisity  and museum with her husband Pierre, cancer race, streets, tours, and continues to inspire little girls and not so little girls named Marie with her work in physics.

Back to SolidWorks, I went down the escalator to see a display listing all the major brands represented in the hardware store.  So many I recognized as SolidWorks customers.    Manufactures of sinks, faucets, plastic containers, valves, power tools, appliances, curtain rods, cash registers, tables, flower pots all designed, engineered, manufactured and packaged.  With the exception of the phalaenopsis orchards and chrysanthemums, all other products involved an engineer.  Most likely these engineers will never have their name on a tower, but they produce the products we use every day.  Luckily there are quiet heroes and heroines for young girls that inspire them to take on the role of a mathematician, scientist  or engineer.

So if  Eiffel had SolidWorks, could he use the  SolidWorks Sketch Text tool and the Wrap feature  with Emboss, Deboss and Scribe options to fit long names of heros?  Could he display Marie Sophie Germain’s name for girls to see – somewhere on this structure to make it fit?

Here are a few steps and tips to help.  When using the Sketch Text tool in SolidWorks, always sketch a construction line, arc or spline.  You will have more control to position and reposition your text.

  1. Sketch  the Sketch Tool such as line, arc or spline and insert on a face.
  2. Click Sketch Text and enter your text.
  3. Uncheck the Use document font box to change height and style

SolidWorks Sketch Text 1 
Note: When you use splines, you can edit the control points to position the text.

SolidWorks Sketch Text on Spline 

 By creating a plane for your sketch text, you provide more flexibility to more the Wrap feature.

SolidWorks Wrap 1 

  1. Click Insert Reference Geometry,  Plane.  Select the front of the cylindrical face.  Select the Right Plane as the second reference.
  2. Create your sketch on the reference plane.
  3. Click Insert, Feature, Wrap.  Select your text sketch.  Select the cylindrical face.

SolidWorks Wrap 2 

 SolidWorks Part:Download Wrap Feature Marie Sophie Germain; Download SolidWorks Sketch Text Tool

The sketched lines and splines remained under defined, so they can be easily reposition.  Marie

Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard