Remaking the World: Adventures in Engineering

Remaking the World: Adventures in Engineering

by Henry Petroski
     
 

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This collection of informative and pleasurable essays by Henry Petroski elucidates the role of engineers in shaping our environment in countless ways, big and small.

In Remaking the World Petroski gravitates this time, perhaps, toward the big: the English Channel tunnel, the Panama Canal, Hoover Dam, the QE2, and the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, now the…  See more details below

Overview

This collection of informative and pleasurable essays by Henry Petroski elucidates the role of engineers in shaping our environment in countless ways, big and small.

In Remaking the World Petroski gravitates this time, perhaps, toward the big: the English Channel tunnel, the Panama Canal, Hoover Dam, the QE2, and the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, now the tallest buildings in the world. He profiles Charles Steinmetz, the genius of the General Electric Company; Henry Martyn Robert, a military engineer who created Robert's Rules of Order; and James Nasmyth, the Scotsman whose machine tools helped shape nineteenth-century ocean and rail transportation. Petroski sifts through the fossils of technology for cautionary tales and remarkable twists of fortune, and reminds us that failure is often a necessary step on the path to new discoveries. He explains soil mechanics by way of a game of  "rock, scissors, paper," and clarifies fundamental principles of engineering through the spokes of a Ferris wheel.

Most of all, Henry Petroski continues to celebrate the men and women whose scrawls on the backs of envelopes have immeasurably improved our world.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Petroski, perhaps best known for The Pencil (LJ 3/1/90) and The Evolution of Useful Things (LJ 12/92), here collects columns written originally as essays for American Scientist, an engineering society publication. As such, the 18 selections, aimed at raising the reader's consciousness about how important and far-reaching engineering is to civilization and society, are accessible to a lay readers with an interest in technology and society. Several pieces are about particular engineers (e.g., Henry Robert, who wrote the Rules of Order, was first a military engineer) or engineering projects (the Channel Tunnel, the Ferris Wheel); others are provocative (the flaws of engineering software, the creep of technology). Always well written, though seldom off the "engineering is crucial!" soapbox, this is an excellent choice for general collections with a literate readership interested in technology and a good gift for the engineers on your Christmas list.
Mark L. Shelton, Univ. of Massachusetts Medical Ctr., Worcester
Booknews
A selection of 19 articles (most) first published in American Scientist by the engineer/author notable for his interest in giving engineers a broader sense of their field, and giving the general public an appreciation of the art and science of engineering. Among Petroski's previous works are The Evolution of Useful Things and To Engineer Is Human. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Thomas R. DeGregori
Another fine book [by] America's poet laureate of technology...Petroski's writing is always fascinating. -- Thomas R. DeGregori, Houston Chronicle
Christine Larson
The book's real charm lies in the countless anecdotes and bits of historic and engineering trivia that pepper each essay, rich details guaranteed to stay with you...Petroski's plain-English summaries of engineering fundamentals make this a rewarding read for both working engineers and armchair inventors. -- Christine Larson, Forbes

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307773203
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/05/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
497,329
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History at Duke University, where he also serves as chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The author of seven previous books, he has received grants from the National Science Foundation and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Humanities Center.


From the Hardcover edition.

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