Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil

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Overview

Science tells us that an oil crisis is inevitable. Why and when? And what will our future look like without our favorite fuel?

Our rate of oil discovery has reached its peak and will never be exceeded; rather, it is certain to decline?perhaps rapidly?forever forward. Meanwhile, over the past century, we have developed lifestyles firmly rooted in the promise of an endless, cheap supply. In this book, David Goodstein, professor of physics at Caltech, explains the underlying ...

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Overview

Science tells us that an oil crisis is inevitable. Why and when? And what will our future look like without our favorite fuel?

Our rate of oil discovery has reached its peak and will never be exceeded; rather, it is certain to decline—perhaps rapidly—forever forward. Meanwhile, over the past century, we have developed lifestyles firmly rooted in the promise of an endless, cheap supply. In this book, David Goodstein, professor of physics at Caltech, explains the underlying scientific principles of the inevitable fossil fuel shortage we face. He outlines the drastic effects a fossil fuel shortage will bring down on us. And he shows that there is an important silver lining to the need to switch to other sources of energy, for when we have burned up all the available oil, the earth's climate will have moved toward a truly life-threatening state.

With its easy-to-grasp explanations of the science behind every aspect of our most urgent environmental policy decisions, Out of Gas is a handbook for the future of civilization.

Author Biography: David Goodstein, vice provost and Frank J. Galloon Distinguished Teaching and Service Professor at the California Institute of Technology, is the author of Feynman's Lost Lecture, among other works. He lives in Pasadena.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
I hope Goodstein is wrong. I wish we could dismiss him as an addled environmentalist, too much in love with his windmill to know which way the wind is blowing. On the strength of the evidence, and his argument, however, we can't. If he's right, I'm sorry for my kids. And I'm especially sorry for theirs. — Paul Raeburn
Library Journal
Goodstein is not some flaky, back-to-earth type, insists the publicist, but a sober-minded scientist (and vice provost at the California Institute of Technology) issuing a warning. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393058574
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/19/2004
  • Pages: 140
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

David Goodstein, vice provost and Frank J. Galloon Distinguished Teaching and Service Professor at the California Institute of Technology, is the author of Feynman's Lost Lecture, among other works. He lives with wife Dr. Judith R. Goodstein in Pasadena.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 13
Ch. 1 The Future 21
Ch. 2 Energy Myths and A Brief History of Energy 41
Ch. 3 Electricity and Radiant Energy 57
Ch. 4 Heat Engines and Entropy 77
Ch. 5 Technological Fixes 99
Envoy: The Future Revisited 117
Annotated Bibliography 125
Acknowledgments 127
Notes 129
Index 133
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2004

    Dateline 1/1/2099 - Solar Economy Takes Over

    Finally a well-respected scientist has written a book concerning what has been obvious to me for decades. This book should become mandatory reading in high school. The author's words are so powerful that he did not need to advocate what needs to occur in the future. If you read closely you must understand that the only real renewables are solar, wind and water. Oil, natural gas, coal, and hydrogen fuel cells are simply 'short-timers'. We will never run out of solar. Long before the solar energy supply to Earth ended the human species would have moved or ceased to exist. One thing that is not clearly stated in the book is an examination of what we make from oil products that we might not be able to make, or might not be able to make as efficiently, in the future. Perhaps we should have a reserve supply of oil for a couple thousand years? We might need that until we can import oil, or an acceptable oil substitute, from another solar system. If that were the actual case our children will be affected as well. One has to ask why has our generation not understood the problem long before this?

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