The Engines of Our Ingenuity: An Engineer Looks at Technology and Culture

Synopsis

Millions of people have listened to John H. Lienhard's radio program "The Engines of Our Ingenuity." In this fascinating book, Lienhard gathers his reflections on the nature of technology, culture, and human inventiveness. The book brims with insightful observations. Lienhard writes that the history of technology is a history of us--we are the machines we create. Thus farming dramatically changed the rhythms of human life and redirected history. War seldom fuels invention--radar, jets, and the digital computer all emerged before World War II began. And the medieval Church was a driving force behind the growth of Western technology--Cistercian monasteries were virtual factories, whose water wheels cut wood, forged iron, and crushed olives. Lienhard illustrates his themes through inventors, mathematicians, and engineers--with stories of the canoe, the DC-3, the Hoover Dam, the diode, and the sewing machine. We gain new insight as to who we are, through the familiar machines and technologies that are central to our lives.

Additional information

Contributors:
Includes content by:
  • John H. Lienhard
  • George Eliot
  • William Shakespeare
  • King Henry V
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 2003

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