An Engineer's Alphabet: Gleanings from the Softer Side of a Profession

Overview

Written by America's most famous engineering storyteller and educator, this abecedarian is one engineer's selection of thoughts, quotations, anecdotes, facts, trivia, and arcana relating to the practice, history, culture, and traditions of his profession. The entries reflect decades of reading, writing, talking, and thinking about engineers and engineering, and range from brief essays to lists of great engineering achievements. This work is organized alphabetically and more like a dictionary than an encyclopedia....

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An Engineer's Alphabet

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Overview

Written by America's most famous engineering storyteller and educator, this abecedarian is one engineer's selection of thoughts, quotations, anecdotes, facts, trivia, and arcana relating to the practice, history, culture, and traditions of his profession. The entries reflect decades of reading, writing, talking, and thinking about engineers and engineering, and range from brief essays to lists of great engineering achievements. This work is organized alphabetically and more like a dictionary than an encyclopedia. It is not intended to be read from first page to last, but rather to be dipped into here and there as the mood strikes the reader. In time, it is hoped, this book should become the source to which readers go first when they encounter a vague or obscure reference to the softer side of engineering.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Henry Petroski has written a stocking stuffer sized book for every engineer on your shopping list with "An Engineer's Alphabet: Gleanings From the Softer Side of a Profession." Petroski shares his thoughts, trivia, and hodgepodge of all things engineering, from engineering fight songs to railroads to science fairs to explaining the cut-and-dry method." - HERALD SUN, DECEMBER 5, 2011

"This dictionary-like work is not meant to be read from cover to cover as one would read a novel, but is intended to be - as the author states - "dipped" into. Engineers may find it helpful in providing answers to those odd questions that come up from time to time and in laying out simple explanations of some common terms that engineers take for granted and most others know only in a more general way. Lay readers will find it absorbing, and at times amusing, as a guidebook to the mysterious workings of engineering." - Tony Spring, The Washington Independent Review of Books

"There are plenty of gems to discover in the book. Many of them I would never have thought to even look up on the internet without being prompted, and in that respect the book is inspiring. I certainly enjoyed browsing through the text." - Joerg Heber, Nature Materials

"This book provides a wealth of background information that will be useful as well as entertaining. It is just as appropriate for a library shelf as it is for whiling away an hour or two during a train or plane journey." - Steve Webster, Materials World Magazine, Aug 2012

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107015067
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 704,207
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.22 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University. He has written broadly on the topics of design, success and failure, and the history of engineering and technology. His fifteen books on these subjects include To Engineer Is Human, The Pencil, The Evolution of Useful Things, Success through Failure, and The Essential Engineer. In addition to his books, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, Petroski has written numerous general-interest articles for publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and he writes regular columns for both American Scientist and ASEE Prism. Petroski is a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and is a fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Engineers of Ireland. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

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Table of Contents

Preface; List of engineering terms; Index.

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