April 10, 2008

Book Review - Power, Speed, and Form

Power, Speed and Form: Engineers and the Making of the Twentieth Century
David P. Billington and David P. Billington Jr.
TA 23 .B48 2006

This extensively illustrated book traces some of the great technological advances of the twentieth century as well as the scientists and engineers who made these advances. The book opens with discussions of the Worlds Fairs of 1876 and 1939, in which the senior author conveys his personal wonder at observing technology and predictions about the technological future when he was a young boy. Later chapters discuss the discoveries of electricity, the telephone, the automobile, the airplane, and radio. Engineering improvements are noted in chapters discussing oil refinement, suspension bridges, reinforced concrete and streamlining which used technology to overcome the effects of nature. This is a fascinating work, not only for those interested in science, but also those who are curious about the technologies that we take for granted in our everyday lives.