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Flying Buttresses, Entropy, and O-Rings: The World of an Engineer [Paperback]

James L Adams
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.95
Price: 17.08 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

12 Feb 1992
James Adams begins with a history of technology and the engineering profession. The author next takes the reader on a guided tour of the engineer's world, beginning with design and invention - the part of engineering that generates new ideas. The next stop is in the field of mathematics, the discipline that allows engineers to build sophisticated products yet makes it a mystical enterprise to the lay public. Science and research, we learn, are the source of many creative directions in technology, but the interrelations between "basic" and "applied" professions are reciprocal and subtle. Experiment and testing introduce the trial-and-error aspect of engineering, which reduces, but can never eliminate, risk and failure. The author also covers manufacturing and assembly, practical processes that impose constraints on the idealistic inventions of the designer's mind; business and money, the latter being required to finance engineering and the former being the means for generating the money; and the controversial but inevitable role of technology regulation. "Flying Buttresses, Entropy and O-rings" aims to demystify a profession that is quite often taken for granted and to inspire an appreciation of the world of engineering.

Frequently Bought Together

Flying Buttresses, Entropy, and O-Rings: The World of an Engineer + Invention by Design: How Engineers Get from Thought to Thing + Engineering: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides)
Price For All Three: 39.26

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (12 Feb 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674306899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674306899
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 18.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


In these witty and engrossing pages, Adams demonstrates that engineering actually can be as divine an occupation as the clergy and as soulful as an aria...Adams' literary tour is the next best thing to visiting a hands-on engineering exhibit. -- Alex Raksin Los Angeles Times Book Review Adams has covered his subject well, and his book would make excellent reading for young people contemplating a career in engineering...[It is] well organized, well written and often amusing, with some very shrewd observations...[The author] deserves our thanks for an interesting and valuable book. -- Michael French Times Higher Education Supplement This text was written to provide a general audience with access to the subjects of engineering and technology. It is a superb book...Discussions of the Challenger tragedy, the balcony collapse at the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, a DC-10 crash...and other technical topics make the book readable, convincing, and enjoyable. Science Books and Films In this engaging book, the author of Conceptual Blockbusting introduces the world of engineering, from the origins of problems to design and invention; mathematics; science and research; development, testing and failure; manufacturing; money and business; and regulation. Science News

About the Author

James L. Adams is a Professor in the Department of Values, Technology, Science and Society, Stanford University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars nice overview 18 July 2003
By Ramses
Being an engineer as well I fully identify with lots of the stuff written in this book and I enjoyed it very much. It would be a good book to read for recent graduates about to embark on the real work. Although heavily geared towards mechanical engineering, the message can be transposed to other fields of course.
Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is a very nice book, which aims to describe what exactly the engineering profession is.
It is thus perfect for youngsters whom are unsure whether to take on engineering as a profession, after school.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very good read 30 Dec 2011
By Byday
I got this for may daughter because it is reccomended reading for budding engineers on the Cambridge web site. Although it is a slightly old book now,it is an easy read and full of thought provoking ideas and information
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book. 1 Mar 2013
By Enrique Perez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Got it for class I was not able to take. Did not get to use the book so can not give you a feedback.
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