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Download The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems Audiobook, by Henry Petroski Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (76 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Henry Petroski Narrator: Mark Deakins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2010 ISBN: 9780307707321
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From the acclaimed author of The Pencil and To Engineer Is Human, The Essential Engineer is an eye-opening exploration of the ways in which science and engineering must work together to address our world’s most pressing issues, from dealing with climate change and the prevention of natural disasters to the development of efficient automobiles and the search for renewable energy sources.

While the scientist may identify problems, it falls to the engineer to solve them. It is the inherent practicality of engineering, which takes into account structural, economic, environmental—and other factors that science often does not consider—that makes engineering vital to answering our most urgent concerns.

Henry Petroski takes us inside the research, development, and debates surrounding the most critical challenges of our time, exploring the feasibility of biofuels, the progress of battery-operated cars, and the question of nuclear power. He gives us an in-depth investigation of the various options for renewable energy—among them solar, wind, tidal, and ethanol—explaining the benefits and risks of each. Will windmills soon populate our landscape the way they did in previous centuries? Will synthetic trees, said to be more efficient at absorbing harmful carbon dioxide than real trees, soon dot our prairies? Will we construct a sunshade in outer space to protect ourselves from dangerous rays? In many cases, the technology already exists. What is needed is not so much invention as engineering.

Just as the great achievements of centuries past—the steamship, the airplane, the moon landing—once seemed beyond reach, the solutions to the twenty-first century’s problems await only a similar coordination of science and engineering. Eloquently reasoned and written, The Essential Engineer identifies and illuminates these problems and, above all, sets out a course for putting ideas into action.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • "Analyzing both historical and contemporary examples, from climate change to public health, Petroski shows how science often overlooks structural, economic, environmental and aesthetic dimensions that routinely challenge engineers. Moreover, he says, sometimes science trails technology, as when engineers had to design the first moon landing vehicles before scientists learned its surface composition. Far from being hostile toward science, Petroski pleads for continued cooperation between science and engineering. When, as Petroski laments, even President Obama has sometimes omitted engineering in touting science, this book could hardly be more timely. Publishers Weekly 
     
  • With customary acuity and variety, Petroski is sure to please his established readership with these interesting disquisitions on technology. Booklist 

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eric | 11/21/2013

    " Slogged through it, but it wasn't very enlightening -- interesting perspective, but the points didn't seem to add much value. Did have some interesting anecdotes and enumeration of technological advances (past and future). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Thomas | 2/19/2013

    " After a while, this reads like a bunch of random facts thrown together without any purpose or cohesion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deborah Laux | 8/2/2012

    " Engineers are very under-rated. good read "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel Bayles | 6/13/2011

    " No surprises, but a good airplane read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Toby | 1/16/2011

    " Petroski is a genial writer, but he has few (if any) interesting opinions, and there's not enough interesting examples. Too often I felt like Petroski was summarizing policy white papers, and summaries of summaries don't make for interesting reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 1/1/2011

    " good but not great. some interesting ideas and trivia in here. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deborah | 6/24/2010

    " Engineers are very under-rated. good read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 5/11/2010

    " good but not great. some interesting ideas and trivia in here. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Toby | 5/5/2010

    " Petroski is a genial writer, but he has few (if any) interesting opinions, and there's not enough interesting examples. Too often I felt like Petroski was summarizing policy white papers, and summaries of summaries don't make for interesting reading.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 selenized | 4/10/2010

    " This is more of a general overview of the place of engineering in the "Science and Technology" umbrella than the book-jacket would have you believe. It was interesting and littered with informative examples, but at times seemed to lack focus. "

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About the Author
Author Henry PetroskiHenry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University. The author of more than a dozen previous books, he lives in Durham, North Carolina, and Arrowsic, Maine.
About the Narrator

Mark Deakins is an actor whose television appearances include Head Case, Star Trek: Voyager, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His film credits include Intervention, Star Trek: Insurrection, and The Devil’s Advocate. He recently wrote, directed, and produced the short film The Smith Interviews.