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In vivid historical vignettes, the author skillfully demonstrates the importance of craft tradition, scientific method, production organization, economics, and more to the creation of modern technology. The many topics that Lewis illuminates include the slow evolution of the wheelwright’s craft, the background and training of the architect-engineers who undertook the construction of medieval cathedrals, the importance of patronage and venture capitalists in realizing the big ideas of past and present, the increasing use of visualization as seen in Leonardo’s notebooks, Galileo’s immense contribution of bringing science and engineering together, the increasing importance of basic science as the seedbed of engineering and design innovations, the challenge of attempting unprecedented feats while minimizing risk as exemplified by space flight, and much more.
Whether Lewis is discussing the distribution of weight along flying buttresses, the challenges faced by Morse in engineering the telegraph, or the Apollo program’s monumental team effort, the author’s deep knowledge of and enthusiasm for his subject and his gift for engaging, lively prose make for a fascinating exploration of science and engineering through the ages.
|1||Creating and comprehending||13|
|2||Practical arts of our ancestors||27|
|3||Maximum height and maximum light||47|
|4||Patrons of progress||69|
|5||The mind's eye||101|
|6||All things in measure, number, and weight||129|
|7||Roots of our wherewithal||169|
|9||Pushing the envelope||235|
|10||Heading for the road, reaching for the sky||255|
|11||Rocket science and more||277|