Remaking the World

Remaking the World

Adventures in Engineering

Book - 1997
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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 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.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1997
ISBN: 9780375400414
0375400419
Branch Call Number: 620 Petroski
620 Petroski
Characteristics: xiii, 239 p. : ill. ; 22 cm

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Dec 08, 2012

Remaking the World --- by Henry Petrowski --- Petroski holds a degree in civil engineering; he is a practicing engineer; he is a prolific writer who has written over fourteen books as well as a PBS documentary presenter.(for mor about who and what he is, check out http://www.cee.duke.edu/faculty/henry-petroski . He is immersed in engineering. And yet, when he writes, as he does in this book, he does not write for the engineering community but for the wider community at large for whom engineering may be somewhat enigmatic. In this book, small though it may be, he examines topics on the subject of engineering: what is the image of the engineer; what does it take to get from the back of the envelope to the completed project; and engineering in the historical concept. He also speaks to some of the large accomplishments of engineering: the Panama Canal; the Ferris Wheel; and the Petronas Towers. Needless to say, Mr. Petrowski interest has a strong historical bent: most of the “great feats” of history in which he is interested and about which he writes are those already finished. Who knows what the future will hold? “Remaking the World” is an interesting book to read; it isn’t full of engineering/mathematical jargon: it is accessible to the lay person. You could do much worse than to spend a couple of hours with this book.

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