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Technology and Creativityby Subrata Dasgupta
Synopses & Reviews
Few things require a finer blend of practical knowledge and creative imagination than the invention of new technologies. Great innovators like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Henry Ford possessed not only extensive mechanical knowledge, but also a profound ability to anticipate and fulfill the technological needs and desires of society. What thought processes underlie this unique union of mechanical prowess and social insight? Are inventors inspired by a divine muse--as artists through the ages have claimed to be--or is there a more down-to-earth explanation? In Technology and Creativity, Subrata Dasgupta brilliantly argues that such processes can be understood scientifically, and he offers a groundbreaking exploration of how cognitive psychology can shed light on the technological mind.
Packed with intriguing case histories and many illuminating examples, the book provides in-depth analyses of the cognitive origins of technological creativity--the conception, invention, and design of original, useful artifacts--and of the people who have possessed this rare talent. Leading us on a fascinating tour through the history of modern technology--from the primitive atmospheric steam engine of 1712 through breakthroughs in mechanical, civil, aeronautical, and electrical engineering--the author gives voice to the genius of the many inventors, some famous, others obscure, who have forever altered history through their achievements. We learn, for example, of the tangled web of ideas behind the first electronic computer, of Benjamin Huntsman's invention of the crucible process, and of Robert Stephenson's design of the Britannia Bridge. We are treated to a close look at the intellectual odysseys that led to Thomas Newcomen's invention of the first steam engine and to the development of the first superalloys. And throughout the book, Dasgupta illuminates these stories with the latest ideas in cognitive psychology, offering for the first time a critical, scientific evaluation of technological creativity. He reveals that inventors--who have long sat in the shadows of the great artists and theoretical scientists--possess a unique and remarkable kind of imagination that puts them squarely on the level of the most exalted physicists, painters, chemists, and poets.
Remarking on Technology and Creativity, the distinguished historian of science and technology Donald Cardwell called it "an original and valuable book...as readable as it is authoritative and stimulating." With its rare combination of an intimate, often conversational writing style and clear expositions of difficult concepts, the book will be of interest to all who have ever pondered the nature of human creativity.
Book News Annotation:
Blending an analysis of cognitive science with a history of invention and inventors, Dasgupta (engineering, U. of Southwestern Louisiana) explains the technological mind. His case studies include: the invention of the steam engine to the first computer, Benjamin Huntsman's crucible process and Robert Stephenson's design of the Britannia Bridge. He demonstrates how inventors, famous and obscure, possess a level of imagination which corresponds to the creative cognition of painters, poets, and physicists.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 215-224) and index.
About the Author
About the Author -
Subrata Dasgupta holds the Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair of Computer Science at the Center for Advanced Computer Studies, and is also Professor of Engineering at the University of Southwestern Louisiana.
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