Science Pub Portland: Transcontinental Railroad

AUG 20, 2019 | 7-9PM; Doors 6PM

Building the Transcontinental Railroad

With Paul Giroux, Dist.M.ASCE, Senior Estimating Manager at Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

We still have tickets available for tonight's Science Pub! Hope to see you at 6pm tonight!


August 20, 2019 | Doors Open @ 6PM (NEW TIME!)


Please Note: OMSI's restaurant, Theory will not be open for this event.

$5 advance purchase for guaranteed seats; $5 suggested donation at the door. Tickets will be available online or at the OMSI front desk until 2pm the day of the event; see below for details.


As the United States grew in population and territory in the mid-nineteenth century safe and efficient travel and commerce with the western territories and the booming state of California were increasingly important. Even as America was embroiled in a civil war from 1861 to 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and other leaders had the courage to build the country’s first transcontinental railroad. While no singular structure defines the first Transcontinental Railroad built in the United States; the story of its builders, and how the tunnels, trestles, and tracks of its 1,776-mile alignment were built stands as one of the most important chapters in civil engineering history. Structures would have to be completed in remote and sometimes hostile areas, at unprecedented elevations, under extreme conditions, all while advancing armies of workers ever closer and closer to the roads final meeting point in Promontory, Utah. Completed 150 years ago in 1869; this presentation will explain how the right men, machines, and methods came together to build a railroad of unprecedented challenges. When completed the Transcontinental Railroad not only connected the United States from east to west, it also helped unite a country that had been torn by civil war. Opening the road to the west to settlement and development would forever change the United States.


Raymond Paul Giroux, Dist.M.ASCE received his BS in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University. He has worked for Kiewit Corporation for the past four decades and has been involved in building several civil engineering mega-projects throughout the United States. Paul serves on the Iowa State Civil Engineering Advisory Board, the TRB, and several national ASCE committees. He played a key role in the anniversary celebrations of the; Brooklyn Bridge, Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge, Panama Canal, Grand Coulee Dam, and Transcontinental Railroad. Paul has presented over 300 lectures and seminars at over 65 engineering schools, and other professional venues. Paul’s awards include the ASCE; History and Heritage Award, the G. Brooks Earnest Award, and the Roebling Award. Additionally, Paul was awarded the AAES’s Norm Augustine Award in 2015. In 2016 Paul was elected as a Distinguished Member of ASCE and in 2017 he received the ASCE Roebling Award. And; most recently, Paul was inducted into the Iowa State University Construction Engineering Hall of Fame.



OMSI Science Pub at the Empirical Theater is a ticketed event. To guarantee a seat at this event, please buy tickets online or at the OMSI front desk. Advanced tickets will be available for purchase until 2:00pm the day of the event. Please show your ticket at the theater entrance upon arrival.


If the event sells out, we will update the website and Facebook listings accordingly. If the event does not sell out in advance, attendance will be first-come, first-served at the door and at-the-door admission will remain a suggested donation.

Science Pub OMSI is a monthly event that is open to anyone and everyone – no scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks and knowledge!


Sandwiches, hotdogs, snacks and beverages are available from the Empirical Café. Food and drink are welcome in the theater. Parking is free for the event. Doors open at 6pm.


For more information or to sign up for our mailing list, email: or call 503.797.4529.