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1 Burnside History of Science- Technology

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention


The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention Cover


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Publisher Comments:

Hardly a week passes without some high-profile court case that features intellectual property at its center. But how did the belief that one could own an idea come about? And how did that belief change the way humankind lives and works?

William Rosen, author of Justinian's Flea, seeks to answer these questions and more with The Most Powerful Idea in the World. A lively and passionate study of the engineering and scientific breakthroughs that led to the steam engine, this book argues that the very notion of intellectual property drove not only the invention of the steam engine but also the entire Industrial Revolution: historys first sustained era of economic improvement. To do so, Rosen conjures up an eccentric cast of characters, including the legal philosophers who enabled most the inventive society in millennia, and the scientists and inventors—Thomas Newcomen, Robert Boyle, and James Watt—who helped to create and perfect the steam engine over the centuries. With wit and wide-ranging curiosity, Rosen explores the power of creativity, capital, and collaboration in the brilliant engineering of the steam engine and how this power source, which fueled factories, ships, and railroads, changed human history.   

Deeply informative and never dull, Rosen's account of one of the most important inventions made by humans is a rollicking ride through history, with careful scholarship and fast-paced prose in equal measure.

About the Author

William Rosen spent nearly twenty-five years as editor or publisher at Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and the Free Press before beginning to research and write his own books.

Product Details

Rosen, William
University of Chicago Press
Great britain
World History-England General
Engineering -- History.
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
8 halftones
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Business » History and Biographies
Engineering » Construction » Heavy Machinery
Engineering » Engineering » History
Engineering » Engineering » Inventions
History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » General History
History and Social Science » Law » Intellectual Property » General
History and Social Science » World History » England » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » Technology

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention Used Trade Paper
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Product details 376 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226726342 Reviews:
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