A million people hear John H. Lienhard's radio program "The Engines of Our Ingenuity." In this fascinating book, Lienhard has gathered together his reflections on the nature of technology, culture, human inventiveness, and the history of engineering. The book brims with insightful observations, offering an intriguing glimpse into technology. Lienhard writes that the history of technology is a history of us--we are the machines we create. Indeed, our very first technology, farming, which demanded year-long care, dramatically changed the rhythms of human life and the course of our history. Lienhard's stories show that war does not often fuel invention--radar, jets, and the digital computer all emerged before World War II began and--that the medieval Church was actually a driving force behind the growth of Western technology: Cistercian monasteries were virtual factories, putting water wheels to work in wood-cutting, forging, and olive crushing. Lienhard ranges far and wide with stories of inventors, mathematicians, and engineers--telling the story of the canoe, the DC-3, the Hoover Dam, the diode, and the sewing machine-and giving us new insight into the familiar machines and technologies that are central to our lives and culture.
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.