An engineer's alphabet : gleanings from the softer side of a by Henry Petroski

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By Henry Petroski

Written by means of America's most famed engineering storyteller and educator, this abecedarium is one engineer's choice of suggestions, quotations, anecdotes, proof, trivialities, and arcana in terms of the perform, historical past, tradition, and traditions of his career. The entries mirror a long time of interpreting, writing, speaking, and pondering engineers and engineering, and diversity from short essays to lists of significant engineering achievements. This paintings is equipped alphabetically and extra like a dictionary than an encyclopedia. it isn't meant to be learn from first web page to final, yet relatively to be dipped into right here and there because the temper moves the reader. In time, it truly is was hoping, this publication may still turn into the resource to which readers move first after they come upon a imprecise or vague connection with the softer part of engineering
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His Power, Speed, and Form: Engineers and the Making of the Twentieth Century, written with his historian son David P. , appeared a decade later (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006). Billington has long been an innovator in engineering education. 36 books by and about engineers Eugene Ferguson. Eugene S. Ferguson (1916–2004) was a mechanical engineer turned historian of technology who, among other significant works, published in 1977 an article in Science (August 26, 1977) titled, “The Mind’s Eye: Nonverbal Thought in Technology,” in which he traced the development of visual and other nonverbal thinking and related it to the nature and practice of engineering and technical drawing and discussed the nature of engineering design.

For example, in 1976 a TI-30 scientific calculator could be bought for $25; within years of their introduction, simpler electronic 43 44 calculators calculators could be bought for less than $10 and soon were being given away in advertising promotions. The calculators were also being used by virtually every high school student, and the concepts of memorizing multiplication tables and doing long division had gone the way of the slide rule. With the introduction of easily affordable pocket scientific calculators, the sale of slide rules, which had already been declining because of decreasing enrollment in engineering schools, plummeted.

I had a similar experience that called for a different approach. I was giving the keynote speech at a meeting. Everything started out normally. My PowerPoint presentation, which was on backups and redundancy 23 success and failure in design and relied heavily on the images of bridges projected on the screen, worked perfectly for about the first ten minutes of the talk. Soon, however, there was an ominous hummm and the lights in the room went out, and the projector and microphone went dead. There was little choice but for me to raise my voice and continue in the dark, describing the slides that should have been there for all to see.

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