The Engines of Our Ingenuity

An Engineer Looks at Technology and Culture

by

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 0198031033
  • 9780195167313
  • 9780198031031
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.
  • Oxford University Press; December 2003
  • ISBN 9780198031031
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: The Engines of Our Ingenuity
  • Author: John H. Lienhard
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 0198031033
  • 9780195167313
  • 9780198031031

In The Press

"John Lienhard brings a relentless optimism to his exposition of 'the complex mirroring processes that define technology-driven evolution'."--American Scientist
"An extremely interesting and readable book. Examples drawn from agriculture, sanitary engineering, military engineering, steam power, space travel, manufacturing, transportation, communications, mathematics, and numerous other areas of science, engineering, and technology enable Lienhard to illustrate exactly the points he wishes to make. Unusual and refreshing."--Technology and Culture
"A fitting introduction to the human obsession with invention."Publisher's Weekly
"John Lienhard has a great ear for concise narrative, and The Engines of Our Ingenuity is a wonderful collection of compelling stories about engineers and engineering accomplishments."-Henry Petroski, A.S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History, Duke University and author of Engineers of Dreams
"There is nothing better than learning a lot and being entertained at the same time. John Lienhard manages to provide this wonderful experience in his Public Radio broadcast, and now in this delightful book."-Samuel C. Florman, Chairman, Kreisler Borg Florman, and author of The Existential Pleasures of Engineering
"The Engines of Our Ingenuity provides a humane insight to the history of science and technology, relating the past to the present, capturing the dynamics of how science and technology has shaped the course of human history, and illustrating how societal environment and human needs have conditioned the direction of technological innovation throughout history. It is a wonderful book for both those not yet initiated in the field of science and technology and those who aspire to make contributions through their scientific discoveries and technological innovations."-Nam P. Suh, Professor and Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, and author ofThe Principles of Design
"Never mind kings or prophets or explorers. What matters more to our immediate world are the efforts of people, both known and nameless, who have given us the devices with which we're surrounded. John Lienhard celebrates their achievements, exploring of the mysterious alchemy of technology, science, and creativity that underly invention. Graceful writing, insightful analyses, good stories-a book for technophobes and technophiles alike."--Steven Vogel, James B. Duke Professor of Zoology, Duke University, and author ofCats' Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People

About The Author

John Lienhard is the M.D. Anderson Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and History at the University of Houston. He is the author and host of "The Engines of Our Ingenuity," a daily radio essay on the history of creativity and invention, heard on many public radio stations. He is also the author of Inventing Modern: Growing up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins. He lives in Houston, Texas.