A unique A-to-Z reference of brilliance in innovation and invention
Combining engagingly written, well-researched history with the respected imprimatur of Scientific American magazine, this authoritative, accessible reference provides a wide-ranging overview of the inventions, technological advances, and discoveries that have transformed human society throughout our history.
More than 400 entertaining entries explain the details and significance of such varied breakthroughs as the development of agriculture, the "invention" of algebra, and the birth of the computer. Special chronological sections divide the entries, providing a unique focus on the intersection of science and technology from early human history to the present. In addition, each section is supplemented by primary source sidebars, which feature excerpts from scientists' diaries, contemporary accounts of new inventions, and various "In Their Own Words" sources.
Comprehensive and thoroughly readable, Scientific American Inventions and Discoveries is an indispensable resource for anyone fascinated by the history of science and technology.
aerosol spray * algebra * Archimedes' Principle * barbed wire * canned food * carburetor * circulation of blood * condom * encryption machine * fork * fuel cell * latitude * music synthesizer * positron * radar * steel * television * traffic lights * Heisenberg's uncertainty principle
This fact-filled compendium will delight students with a passion for science and technology, no matter what their age. Covering the history of humanity in five parts, from the ancient world to the present, Carlisle, a professor emeritus at Rutgers and an authority on the history of technology, explains the origins of objects as common as the ballpoint pen and as complex as the periodic table of elements. There are surprises to be found: for instance, while we associate the invention of the arch with the Romans, Carlisle says pre-Roman arches have been found in Egypt. On a less serious note, while the origin of the word"whisky" is Gaelic ("uisge"), distilled liquors probably existed as far back as 800 B.C. in China. Illustrations, summary tables (such as chronologies) and sidebars with pungent quotes from historical sources enrich the readable text.