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How Invention Begins: Echoes of Old Voices in the Rise of New Machines

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How Invention Begins: Echoes of Old Voices in the Rise of New Machines Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Invention--that single leap of a human mind that gives us all we create. Yet we make a mistake when we call a telephone or a light bulb an invention, says John Lienhard. In truth, light bulbs, airplanes, steam engines--these objects are the end results, the fruits, of vast aggregates of invention. They are not invention itself.

In How Invention Begins, Lienhard reconciles the ends of invention with the individual leaps upon which they are built, illuminating the vast web of individual inspirations that lie behind whole technologies. He traces, for instance, the way in which thousands of people applied their combined inventive genius to airplanes, railroad engines, and automobiles. As he does so, it becomes clear that a collective desire, an upwelling of fascination, a spirit of the times--a Zeitgeist--laid its hold upon inventors. The thing they all sought to create was speed itself.

Likewise, Lienhard shows that when we trace the astonishingly complex technology of printing books, we come at last to that which we desire from books--the knowledge, the learning, that they provide. Can we speak of speed or education as inventions? To do so, he concludes, is certainly no greater a stretch than it is to call radio or the telephone an "invention."

Throughout this marvelous volume, Lienhard illuminates these processes, these webs of insight or inspiration, by weaving a fabric of anecdote, history, and technical detail--all of which come together to provide a full and satisfying portrait of the true nature of invention.

Synopsis:

In How Invention Begins, Lienhard reconciles the ends of invention with the individual leaps upon which they are built, illuminating the vast web of individual inspirations that lie behind whole technologies. He traces, for instance, the way in which thousands of people applied their combined inventive genius to airplanes, railroad engines, and automobiles. As he does so, it becomes clear that a collective desire, an upwelling of fascination, a spirit of the times--a Zeitgeist--laid its hold upon inventors. The thing they all sought to create was speed itself. Likewise, Lienhard shows that when we trace the astonishingly complex technology of printing books, we come at last to that which we desire from books--the knowledge, the learning, that they provide. Can we speak of speed or education as inventions? To do so, he concludes, is certainly no greater a stretch than it is to call radio or the telephone an "invention."

Throughout this marvelous volume, Lienhard illuminates these webs of insight or inspiration by weaving a fabric of anecdote, history, and technical detail--all of which come together to provide a full and satisfying portrait of the true nature of invention.

About the Author

John H. Lienhard is M.D. Anderson Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and of History at the University of Houston. He is the author and host of "The Engines of Our Ingenuity," a daily radio essay on invention and creativity heard nationally on Public Radio and internationally on the Armed Forces Network. He is also the author of the book The Engines of Our Ingenuity: An Engineer Looks at Technology and Culture.

Books by the same Author - Inventing Modern

The Engines of Our Ingenuity

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195341201
Author:
Leinhard, John H.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
Lienhard, John H., V.
Author:
Lienhard, John H.
Author:
null, John H.
Subject:
Philosophy & Aspects
Subject:
Inventions
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Subject:
History
Subject:
Engineering
Subject:
Technology -- History.
Subject:
Engineering & Technology | History
Subject:
Engineering -- History.
Publication Date:
20080531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
83 halftones
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.22x6.23x.76 in. .90 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Engineering » Engineering » General Engineering
Engineering » Engineering » History
Engineering » Engineering » Inventions
History and Social Science » Law » Legal Guides and Reference
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Philosophy General
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How Invention Begins: Echoes of Old Voices in the Rise of New Machines New Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195341201 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In How Invention Begins, Lienhard reconciles the ends of invention with the individual leaps upon which they are built, illuminating the vast web of individual inspirations that lie behind whole technologies. He traces, for instance, the way in which thousands of people applied their combined inventive genius to airplanes, railroad engines, and automobiles. As he does so, it becomes clear that a collective desire, an upwelling of fascination, a spirit of the times--a Zeitgeist--laid its hold upon inventors. The thing they all sought to create was speed itself. Likewise, Lienhard shows that when we trace the astonishingly complex technology of printing books, we come at last to that which we desire from books--the knowledge, the learning, that they provide. Can we speak of speed or education as inventions? To do so, he concludes, is certainly no greater a stretch than it is to call radio or the telephone an "invention."

Throughout this marvelous volume, Lienhard illuminates these webs of insight or inspiration by weaving a fabric of anecdote, history, and technical detail--all of which come together to provide a full and satisfying portrait of the true nature of invention.

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