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Structures or Why Things Don't Fall down [Paperback]

J E Gordon
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 9.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

26 Sep 1991
In "The New Science of Strong Materials" the author made plain the secrets of materials science. In this volume he explains the importance and properties of different structures.

Frequently Bought Together

Structures or Why Things Don't Fall down + The New Science of Strong Materials: Or Why You Don't Fall Through the  Floor (Penguin Science) + Engineering: A Beginner's Guide (Beginner's Guides)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (26 Sep 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140136282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140136289
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 187,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

James Edward Gordon was born in 1913. He took a degree in naval architecture at Glasgow University and worked in wood and steel shipyards, intending to design sailing ships. On the outbreak of the Second World War he moved to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, where he worked on wooden aircraft, plastics and unorthodox materials of all kinds. He designed the sailing rescue dinghies carried at one time by most bomber aircraft. He later became head of the plastic structures sections at Farnborough and developed a method of construction in reinforced plastics which is now used for a number of purpose in aircraft and rockets.

For several frustrating years he worked in industry on the strength of glass and the growth of strong 'whisker' crystals. In 1962 he returned to government service as superintendent of an experimental branch at Waltham Abbey concerned with research and development of entirely new structural materials, most of which were based on 'whiskers'. He was Industrial Fellow Commoner at Churchill College, Cambridge, and became Professor of Materials Technology at the University of Reading, where he was later Professor Emeritus. He was awarded the British Silver Medal of the Royal Aeronautical Society for work on aircraft plastics and also the Griffith Medal of the Materials Science Club for contributions to material science. His book, Structures or Why Things Don't Fall Down, is also published in Penguin.

Professor Gordon died in 1998. In its obituary The Times wrote of him that he was 'one of the founders of materials science' and that he wrote 'two books of outstanding literary quality ... at once entertaining and informative, providing absorbing interest for both expert and student'.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
A structure has been defined as 'any assemblage of materials which is intended to sustain loads', and the study of structures is one of the traditional branches of science. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 2 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
This is a perfect example of the most rarest of all things: a technical book that is an utter joy to read.

I have no engineering, maths or physics beyond GCSEs, and was concerned that the book would quickly go over my head. However, Gordon writes with a clarity and simplicity that makes the material accessible. He discusses the main concepts in structural engineering, and gives hundreds of examples, from plants to skeletons to boats to planes and buildings. Occasionally I got lost by the formulas or discussions of maths , but not only was that very rarely, it was also down to my own ignorance.

The real joy of this book is Gordon himself: his personality comes across wonderfully in the text, and I was often left chuckling at his remarks. I'd never expected to laugh when reading a book on engineering. I've read many novels which couldn't compare to this book, in terms of the writing skill of the author. The final chapter, on the philosophy of chapters, is outstanding.

I can't recommend this book enough, whether you're specificly looking for a book on engineering, or whether you're simply looking for your next book.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I am a mechanical engineer and during my undergraduate years I was crying out for a book like this. It's easy to read and anyone with even the most basic concept of structures will find it very informative. The author explains why structures are built the way they are and points to the lessons that can be learned from nature. Structures enhanced my appreciation of architecture and has even tauhgt me a few new concepts. I would think it's almost essential for any structural engineer to have a copy. A very enjoyable light read.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Structures 14 July 2002
Format:Paperback
The book is a good introduction to engineering of any sort particuly civil or structural. It would be beneficial to anyone about to take A level physics and beyond. It pulls together losts of laws by famous scientists and presents it in different but interesting ways. The language is sometimes quite technical but is easy to understand with some previous knowledge in the subject and or after a few chapters of the book. an enjoyable read intersting read
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for engineers 30 April 2009
By Telford
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Everyone who has thoughts of becoming a civil or mechanical engineer should read this book. It explains virtually all you need to know and many things you didn't realise you needed to know. Every practicing engineer should also read it - I am now retired but read it every year just for the enjoyment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book- Can't flaw it 22 Nov 2010
By Johani
Format:Paperback
I am currently doing my A-levels in maths and physics hoping to do civil engineering at University. I found this really intersting and it gave me more of an insight into civil engineering as a whole and other aspects such as material engineering. Extremely well written which is simple for anybody to read but can also teach people with a good physics knowledge something new. I would recommend this to everyone, especially future civil engineers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Prof Gordon's really famous work is The New Science of Strong Materials: Or Why You Don't Fall Through the Floor (Pelican). If you haven't read that, you should. But then come back and read this one, which looks at how bigger things can be put together from practical materials. It's not such an extraodinary work as "Strong Materials" but is still very well written, wise and memorable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful read . a treasure 20 Jun 2004
Format:Paperback
i loved this book. i am a lay reader but it gave me a good understanding of structures and is written in such and entertaining way. i would recommend this to anyone . it is a model of how the complexities of the world can be explained in a clear and enjoyable way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars oldie but goldie 28 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback
A brilliant book for the engineer and non engineer alike - both will be richly informed by it. It takes a really nice angle to study the subject from and is never dull. Well written and well constructed (!) it's a fantastic book which has reason still to be popular so long after it was first published.

A gem.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
Sorry far to much waffle interspersed with equations to interest anyone who has been invited to a solitary party involving hooch.
Published 1 month ago by Chessmachine
5.0 out of 5 stars More populat science fun!
J E Gordon is a fantastic popular science writer. Highly recommend whether you are an engineer or not. Necessary reading for engineering students.
Published 9 months ago by Mrs A
4.0 out of 5 stars Both educative and funny
"Structures" is both educative and funny to read. Even though the author has a very good knowledge of the topic, he doesn't take any deep dive in the tiresome... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bigmach
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Quite an interesting book, very helpful for my degree. used this as a reference in a few pieces of coursework
Published 10 months ago by CL
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great book for anyone aspiring to study Civil/Structural Engineering; a recommended read for anyone before they go to study at college/university.
Published 12 months ago by PeterJamesNugent
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most readable textbooks ever
I first used this book in 1979 and it stayed with me for a number of years. You don't need to be an engineer to follow and understand it. Read more
Published 13 months ago by David
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars
the word format and the color of the cover looks like pirated copy. How do I know? Grab any book you can find on the street in China , then you know, Actually, even the pirated... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Haaghhs
5.0 out of 5 stars Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down
excellent book, not a text book, its more like someone actually talking to you about engineering, having a conversation with you, so its easy to understand, very easy. Read more
Published 15 months ago by The man
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding how things stay in place
Brilliant book, a recommended read for anyone who would like to understand our physical world at an engineering level. Read more
Published 16 months ago by kikelomo olorunfemi
5.0 out of 5 stars my book
as a structural engineer, i needed a book to help explain technical terms in structures to the lay man and use basic and everyday stuff to explain the behaviour to make them... Read more
Published on 20 Sep 2011 by Oresanwo Charles Orebola
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