Masterworks of Technology / Edition 1

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Overview

In this absorbing exploration of technological creativity throughout the ages, E. E. Lewis, professor of mechanical engineering at Northwestern University, eloquently tells the story of how science and engineering—which had little in common until a few hundred years ago—came together to create the technological world of the 21st century.

Today’s technology is the product of a fascinating synergy of science’s search for comprehension of the material universe and engineering’s drive to build things and make them work. In the 20th century this synergy achieved many unprecedented successes, the most spectacular of which is arguably the first moon landing of the Apollo program. "Rocket science," now symbolic of humanity’s most complex technological endeavors, is the culmination of centuries of achievements by architects of pyramids and cathedrals, medieval craft guilds, and pioneering inventors and scientists from the Renaissance through the Industrial Revolution.

Melding his own personal experiences—from visiting Chartres Cathedral to flying aboard a Boeing 777—with 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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591022435
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 710,663
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

E. E. Lewis (Evanston, IL), the former chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is professor of mechanical engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University. He is the author of three engineering textbooks and numerous journal articles.
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Table of Contents

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
8 Fascinating bedfellows 203
9 Pushing the envelope 235
10 Heading for the road, reaching for the sky 255
11 Rocket science and more 277
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