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Invention by Design: How Engineers Get from Thought to Thing
Synopses & Reviews
Henry Petroski's previous bestsellers have delighted readers with intriguing stories about the engineering marvels around us, from the lowly pencil to the soaring suspension bridge. In this book,Petroski delves deeper into the mystery of invention, to explore what everyday artifacts and sophisticated networks can reveal about the way engineers solve problems.
Engineering entails more thanknowing the way things work. What do economics and ecology, aesthetics and ethics, have to do with the shape of a paper clip, the tab of a beverage can, the cabin design of a turbojet, or the course of a river? How do the idiosyncrasiesof individual engineers, companies, and communities leave their mark on projects from Velcroandreg; to fax machines to waterworks?Invention by Designoffers an insider's look at these politicaland cultural dimensions of design and development, production and construction.
Readers unfamiliar with engineering will find Petroski's enthusiasm contagious, whether the topic is the genesis of the Ziploc baggie orthe averted collapse of Manhattan's sleekest skyscraper. And those who inhabit the world of engineering will discover insights to challenge their customary perspective, whether their work involves failure analysis, systems design, orpublic relations. Written with the flair that readers have come to expect from his books, Invention by Designreaffirms Petroski as the master explicator of the principles and processes that turnthoughts into the many things that define our made world.
Book News Annotation:
Petroski writes enthusiastically and accessibly about engineering for lay people, and for engineers and prospective engineers who want to have a feeling for their work beyond the technicalities (one of Petroski's previous books, To Engineer is Human, was developed into a BBC television documentary). Here he uses case histories of the invention of familiar items like paper clips, aluminum cans, pencil points, and zippers to discuss the nature of invention, design, and development--and the economic, aesthetic, and personal idiosyncracies that play a part.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
thoughts into the many things that define our made world.
About the Author
Henry Petroski's previous books include To Engineer Is Human, which was developed into a BBC television documentary; The Pencil; The Evolutionof Useful Things; and Engineers of Dreams. Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History at
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