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

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Apr 10, 2003 - Technology & Engineering - 272 pages
2 Reviews
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.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jcopenha - LibraryThing

So many great tidbits of engineering history. A great juxtaposition of engineering and humanity. Each chapter can stand by itself as an essay. So many interesting little stories that I'll have to buy many more books to complete them. Read full review

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

User Review  - AJ - Goodreads

Things are more interesting when you dig into them. Who inveted __________? Usually we give credit to one person who mostly added onto what was already done. Lots of fun to see the behind the scenes as to our industrialization. Read full review

Contents

Mirrored by Our Machines
3
God the Master Craftsman
20
Looking Inside the Inventive Mind
35
The Common Place
55
Science Marries into the Family
70
Industrial Revolution
86
Inventing America
96
Taking Flight
115
Systems Design and Production
167
Heroic Materialism
179
Who Got There First?
193
EverPresent Dangers
209
Technology and Literature
219
Being There
229
Correlation of the Text with the Radio Program
241
Notes
243

Attitudes and Technological Change
126
War and Other Ways to Kill People
139
Major Landmarks
153

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2003)


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.

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