9780307272454

The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems

Petroski, Henry

ISBN 10: 0307272451 / 0-307-27245-1
ISBN 13: 9780307272454
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: 2010
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
From the acclaimed author of The Pencil and To Engineer Is Human, The Essential Engineer is an eye-opening exploration of the ways in which science and engineering must work together to address our world’s most pressing issues, from dealing with climate change and the prevention of natural disasters to the development of efficient automobiles and the search for renewable energy sources. While the scientist may identify problems, it falls to the engineer to solve them. It is the inherent practicality of engineering, which takes into account structural, economic, environmental, and other factors that science often does not consider, that makes engineering vital to answering our most urgent concerns.

Henry Petroski takes us inside the research, development, and debates surrounding the most critical challenges of our time, exploring the feasibility of biofuels, the progress of battery-operated cars, and the question of nuclear power. He gives us an in-depth investigation of the various options for renewable energy—among them solar, wind, tidal, and ethanol—explaining the benefits and risks of each. Will windmills soon populate our landscape the way they did in previous centuries? Will synthetic trees, said to be more efficient at absorbing harmful carbon dioxide than real trees, soon dot our prairies? Will we construct a “sunshade” in outer space to protect ourselves from dangerous rays? In many cases, the technology already exists. What’s needed is not so much invention as engineering.

Just as the great achievements of centuries past—the steamship, the airplane, the moon landing—once seemed beyond reach, the solutions to the twenty-first century’s problems await only a similar coordination of science and engineering. Eloquently reasoned and written, The Essential Engineer identifies and illuminates these problems—and, above all, sets out a course for putting ideas into action.

Review:
Amazon Exclusive: Henry Petroski on Science, Engineering, and Culture

Science is by its very nature global. In fact, it is galactic, even universal. This is because science deals with universal laws, like the law of gravity. No matter where on earth I jump, gravity will pull me down according to the single law of universal gravitation. And no matter where an apple falls, it falls toward the ground. We believe that it has always been so, regardless of culture.

But this is not to say that practicing science is independent of culture. It is proper to speak of American science, as distinct from, say, Japanese science. Indeed, at least one Japanese scientist has taken note of the fact that his culture has yielded a paucity of Nobel laureates. This has been attributed to the deference that the Japanese culture expects of the young toward the elderly. Prize-winning scientific breakthroughs often depend on rebellion against the prevailing paradigm, not deference to it.

At the same time, the Japanese excel in technological endeavors. Their automobiles and consumer electronics are admired and bought around the world. The disciplined Japanese culture is well suited to the mass manufacturing of excellently engineered and highly reliable products. Those products that are exported fit nicely into the target culture; those that are for home consumption are distinctly Japanese.

So there appears to be a significant difference between science and engineering and how they relate to culture. A commonly cited difference between the two endeavors is that science seeks to understand what is, whereas engineering seeks to create what never was. It is wrong to describe engineering as mere applied science. There is some extra-scientific component to engineering, something often referred to as the creative or artistic component. The engineer designing a bridge does not deduce its form from scientific laws and mathematical equations. Rather, like a poem or a painting, the bridge is formed first in the engineer’s mind’s eye. It is only then that the hypothesized structure can be given a scientific or mathematical litmus test. In engineering, analysis follows synthesis--not the other way around.

It is essential that the similarities and differences between science and engineering be kept in mind when identifying and attacking global problems. Scientists and engineers come from different technical cultures as surely as Americans and Japanese do from different social ones. --Henry Petroski

(Photo © Catherine Petroski)

Review

Editorial reviews may belong to another edition of this title.
 

The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems: Search Results

1.
The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (ISBN: 0307272451 / 0-307-27245-1)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0307272451
ISBN 13: 9780307272454
Bookseller: Ebooksweb COM LLC (Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Knopf 2010-02-23, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0307272451. Bookseller Inventory # Z0307272451ZN

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 7.30
Convert Currency
Shipping: FREE Within U.S.A.
2.
The Essential Engineer Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (ISBN: 9780307272454)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0307272451
ISBN 13: 9780307272454
Bookseller: Castle Rock (Amherst, NS, Canada)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New * All orders are processed and shipped from Las Vegas, NV USA *. Bookseller Inventory # 97803072724541.0

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 10.59
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.99
From Canada to U.S.A.
3.
The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (ISBN: 0307272451 / 0-307-27245-1)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0307272451
ISBN 13: 9780307272454
Bookseller: zeebooks (Foley, AL, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating
Quantity Available: 3

Book Description: Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0307272451 .New, Unused, Hard-cover Book. Dust jacket has minor wear due to handling. May have remainder mark. Does NOT affect content! Items ship within 24 hours with FREE tracking. Bookseller Inventory # 45113

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 9.94
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 4.95
Within U.S.A.
4.
The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (ISBN: 0307272451 / 0-307-27245-1)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0307272451
ISBN 13: 9780307272454
Bookseller: Poverty Hill Books (La Grange, IL, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Knopf, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. HARDCOVER, BRAND NEW, Perfect Shape, No Black Remainder Mark,Fast Shipping With Online Tracking, International Orders shipped Global Priority Air Mail, All orders handled with care and shipped promptly in secure packaging, we ship Mon-Sat and send shipment confirmation emails. Our customer service is friendly, we answer emails fast, accept returns and work hard to deliver 100% Customer Satisfaction!. Bookseller Inventory # 9028434

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 10.95
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
5.
The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (ISBN: 0307272451 / 0-307-27245-1)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0307272451
ISBN 13: 9780307272454
Bookseller: BookShop4U (Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0307272451. Bookseller Inventory # Z0307272451ZN

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 22.80
Convert Currency
Shipping: FREE Within U.S.A.
6.
The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (ISBN: 0307272451 / 0-307-27245-1)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0307272451
ISBN 13: 9780307272454
Bookseller: Vital Products COM LLC (Churchville, PA, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0307272451. Bookseller Inventory # Z0307272451ZN

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 22.80
Convert Currency
Shipping: FREE Within U.S.A.
7.
The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (ISBN: 0307272451 / 0-307-27245-1)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0307272451
ISBN 13: 9780307272454
Bookseller: Booklot COM LLC (Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0307272451. Bookseller Inventory # Z0307272451ZN

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 22.80
Convert Currency
Shipping: FREE Within U.S.A.
8.
The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (ISBN: 0307272451 / 0-307-27245-1)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0307272451
ISBN 13: 9780307272454
Bookseller: Bookhouse COM LLC (Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 3-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0307272451. Bookseller Inventory # Z0307272451ZN

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 22.80
Convert Currency
Shipping: FREE Within U.S.A.
9.
The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (ISBN: 0307272451 / 0-307-27245-1)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0307272451
ISBN 13: 9780307272454
Bookseller: ExtremelyReliable (Richmond, TX, U.S.A.)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0307272451

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 19.85
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
10.
The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (ISBN: 9780307272454)
Petroski, Henry
ISBN 10: 0307272451
ISBN 13: 9780307272454
Bookseller: GOOD OLD BOOKS (BARRIE, ON, Canada)
Bookseller Rating: 5-star rating
Quantity Available: 1

Book Description: Alfred A. Knoft, New York, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # H52H07

Bookseller & Payment Information | More Books from this Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Add Book to Shopping Basket
Price: US$ 17.99
Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 9.99
From Canada to U.S.A.
View All Listings for this Book