Energies: An Illustrated Guide to the Biosphere and Civilization / Edition 1

Energies: An Illustrated Guide to the Biosphere and Civilization / Edition 1

by Vaclav Smil
     
 

Energy is the only universal currency. One of its many forms must be transformed into another in order for stars to shine, planets to rotate, living things to grow, and civilizations to evolve. In this book, ecologist Vaclav Smil takes the principle of universality seriously, presenting a comprehensive and integrated survey of all the forms of energy that shape our… See more details below

Overview

Energy is the only universal currency. One of its many forms must be transformed into another in order for stars to shine, planets to rotate, living things to grow, and civilizations to evolve. In this book, ecologist Vaclav Smil takes the principle of universality seriously, presenting a comprehensive and integrated survey of all the forms of energy that shape our world, from the sun to the human body, from bread to microchips. Each essay explains the science of the energy form as well as its implications for the functioning of the universe, life, or human society. Cross-links and summary diagrams allow easy comparisons among the various levels and flows of energy.

In this highly original book, ecologist Vaclav Smil takes the principle of universality seriously, presenting a comprehensive and integrated survey of all the forms of energy that shape our world, from the sun to the human body, from bread to microchips. Written in a scientifically sophisticated yet accessible style, Energies consists of eighty-two short essays organized under six headings: Sun and Earth, Plants and Animals, People and Food, Preindustrial Societies, Fossil-Fueled Civilization, and Motion and Information. Each essay explains the science of the energy form as well as its implications for the functioning of the universe, life, or human society. Cross-links and summary diagrams allow easy comparisons among the various levels and flows of energy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262692359
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
02/28/2000
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
228
Sales rank:
1,420,606
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Energy's Unique Allure: An Unorthodox Look
An Overview of Concepts and Units
1Sun and Earth1
Sun1
Solar Radiation4
Atmosphere7
Planet Earth9
Winds12
Rains14
Oceans17
Rivers19
Earth's Heat21
Geotectonics23
Earthquakes27
Volcanoes29
Denudation31
Space Encounters33
2Plants and Animals37
Adenosine Triphosphate37
Archaea and Bacteria39
Photosynthesis42
C[subscript 3] and C[subscript 4] Plants44
Phytoplankton46
Forests49
Grasslands52
Heterotrophic Metabolism54
Reproduction57
Growth59
Endotherms and Ectotherms61
Food Chains63
Herbivores65
Carnivores68
Swimming70
Running and Jumping72
Flying75
3People and Food79
Basal Metabolism79
Thermoregulation81
Pregnancy and Lactation83
Human Growth85
Walking and Running87
Labor and Leisure90
Nutrients92
Grains94
Bread97
Lipids and Meat99
Milk101
Ethanol102
4Preindustrial Societies105
Hunters and Gatherers106
Shifting Cultivation108
Traditional Agricultures109
Cattle112
Horses114
Wood, Charcoal, and Straw117
Waterwheels120
Windmills122
Copper, Iron, and Steel125
Gunpowder128
Sailships130
5Fossil-Fueled Civilization133
Fossil Fuels and Electricity134
Coals136
Crude Oils139
Natural Gases141
Steam Engines143
Steam Turbines146
Water Turbines149
Fission Reactors152
Transmission154
Electric Motors156
Lights158
Internal Combustion Engines160
Gas Turbines162
Blast Furnaces164
Aluminum167
Nitrogen169
Nuclear Weapons171
6Transportation and Information175
Trains175
Ships178
Bicycles180
Cars182
Airplanes185
Rockets187
Pipelines189
Tankers191
Telephones193
Radio and Television196
Computers and Microchips197
Further Reading201
Index208

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