Powering the Future: How We Will (Eventually) Solve the Energy Crisis and Fuel the Civilization of Tomorrow

Overview

In this objective yet optimistic look at alternative fuel sources, the author predicts that two centuries from now we'll have ceased to use carbon from the ground, but no major transformations will have taken place, due to a slew of fascinating technologies.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Paperback (First Trade Paper Edition)
$13.72
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$16.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $3.52   
  • New (9) from $4.00   
  • Used (4) from $3.52   
Powering the Future: How We Will (Eventually) Solve the Energy Crisis and Fuel the Civilization of Tomorrow

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 38%)$16.99 List Price

Overview

In this objective yet optimistic look at alternative fuel sources, the author predicts that two centuries from now we'll have ceased to use carbon from the ground, but no major transformations will have taken place, due to a slew of fascinating technologies.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Kirkus Reviews
“A work of intricate research free of hype, offering serious pros and cons with a sometimes whimsical flourish.” 

Booklist
“An illuminating, ultimately hopeful perspective on energy policy.”
 

Library Journal
“a pragmatic, authoritative look into energy alternatives for general readers.”

Matt Ridley, Wall Street Journal
“[Powering the Future] is written with cheerfully can-do brio and is full of fascinating calculations.... Mr. Laughlin brings a refreshing, upbeat outlook for our energy future.”

Discover
“[A] sardonic and vivid exercise in futurology.”
 
New Scientist “Laughlin says many useful things with a pleasing directness.”

Library Journal
It's a matter of interpretation whether this book is ultimately optimistic, pessimistic, or just honest. In his "armchair journey" into Earth's energy future, physicist and Nobel laureate Laughlin transports readers to a hypothetical age, some 200 years from now, when every last lump of coal and drop of oil has been extracted from the planet. Some may be unwilling to accept this proposed future, especially in light of the inevitable environmental wreckage it would cause. Laughlin, however, assumes that human nature is such that we will demand energy first and seek to manage the consequences second. Even so, he believes that we could continue to power our machines with a combination of natural, synthetic, and alternative energy sources. Many will cheer his endorsement of biofuels; not so many his assertions that nuclear power will be essential. Solar energy, too, would be a necessity, although environmentalists may cringe at the idea of deserts shaded by a canopy of solar collectors. His proposal that colonies of robots will manage energy-transport systems on the ocean floor isn't likely to win anybody's green seal of approval either. Laughlin contends that any technology that can be economically developed will be. The easy flow of the text masks the book's erudition (there are over 450 detailed notes). VERDICT A pragmatic, authoritative look into energy alternatives for general readers. Another perspective is Robert and Edward Ayres's Crossing the Energy Divide: Moving from Fossil Fuel Dependence to a Clean-Energy Future.—Gregg Sapp, Olympia, WA
Kirkus Reviews

Nobel Prize winner Laughlin (Physics/Stanford Univ.; The Crime of Reason: And the Closing of the Scientific Mind, 2008, etc.) invites readers on an "armchair journey" to a future devoid of petroleum, coal and natural gas, proposing alternative resources.

Beginning with a 23rd-century scenario, the author explains how several concerns, including climate change and fossil-fuel dependency, are important yet not as critical as they seem when viewed in geologic time. The earth, with its capacity for renewal and patterned routines, will continue on its course long after the energy crisis has peaked. Instead of panicking and engaging in political debates over the hot-button issues of today, it is a more useful starter for change to consider the logical ramifications of particular decisions. What could happen if society converted to synthetic fuels, biofuels, hydropumping as an energy-storing technology, fast-breeder nuclear reactors, manure power, algae farming, trash as a carbon source, solar power and deep-sea exploitation, among other ideas? Laughlin presents hypothetical cases, supplementing them with clear, personable analogies as well as explanations of quantum mechanics. The result is a work of moderately accessible science that strikes a cautionary note. For all that the future may hold in regards to innovations or improvements on current technologies, an essential, increasing greed for cheap energy and a focus on economic and governmental factors will determine which solutions take precedence. The book should not be seen as a speculative exercise, which Laughlin considers "foolish," since "how history will play out thousands of years from now is anyone's guess"; the value of the book rests in the author's thought-provoking assessment and his relentless faith in the earth. Humans may be resourceful, but the planet itself is more so.

A work of intricate research free of hype, offering serious pros and cons with a sometimes whimsical flourish.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465022205
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 4/23/2013
  • Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 782,528
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Robert B. Laughlin is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Physics at Stanford University. In 1998 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the fractional quantum Hall effect. He is the author of The Crime of Reason and A Different Universe. He lives in Palo Alto, California.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)