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Beyond Engineering
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About the Author

Robert Pool writes for Discover and New Scientist and is author of Eves Rib. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

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This thoughtful, well-researched title by science writer Pool (Eve's Rib, LJ 5/1/94) lays out a rich, comprehensive view of the development of modern technologies, with a keen emphasis on how nontechnological factors‘such as the sociological, political, and simply serendipitous‘shape such complex technologies. Pool begins with a positivism vs. "social construction" epistemological debate (essential to understanding technological knowledge, he argues) and a discussion of the effects of history, economics, political science, sociology, risk analysis, management science, and psychology on the technology that has both ameliorated humankind's condition and made it worse. The progress in modern aviation, computers, automobiles, bovine growth hormone, treatment for AIDS, and nuclear power (the evolution of which is treated extensively and serves as an underlying current throughout the book) is covered carefully in a fluent style. Copious end notes buttress the solid exposition. Recommended for general science collections.‘Robert C. Ballou, Atlanta

"It's a truism that technology has driven modern history. In this wise, insightful book, Robert Pool explores the deeper truth that history shapes technology."--Richard Rhodes, author The Making of the Atomic Bomb. "It's a truism that technology has driven modern history. In this wise, insightful book, Robert Pool explores the deeper truth that history shapes technology."--Richard Rhodes, author The Making of the Atomic Bomb. "Robert pool brings the whole pageant of technology to life--with all its triumphs, humanness, heartaches, and accidents of history. A great read."--Brian Arthur, Citibank Professor at the Sante Fe Institute "Story telling is a fine art, and Robert Pool is a master. From a squash court under the stadium at the University of Chicago, to the flight deck of modern aircraft carrier, Beyond Engineering treats the reader to 101 tales about the creation and use of modern technologies. Like all great story tellers, Poll weaves his entertaining narrative into an exploration of some deeply serious questions. To what extent is technical knowledge objective, to what extent socially constructed? How much does the broad course of technical progress depend upon small, perhaps even random, events? In clear, simple language, Pool illuminates such critical questions in a way that should bring insight to nontechnical and to many technical readers."--M. Granger Morgan, Head of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University "A crystal clear narrative about the recent history of large-scale technology. He demonstrates persuasively that technology shapes our lives in complex ways, deserving as much thought and watchful skepticism as political affairs demand. His may be the best book available for the general reader engaging our human-built world."--Thomas P. Hughes, Mellon Professor Emeritus, The University of Pennsylvania, and Visiting Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology "A less modest and more accurate subtitle of this superb book would read: A New, Lively, Absorbing, and Deeply Instructive Way of Thinking About Modern Technology. For anyone at all interested in understanding the complex and puzzling ways in which major new technologies came to be and ended up as they have, this is a definitive work, not to be missed." --Robert K. Merton, University Professor Emeritus, Columbia University "This thoughtful, well-researched title by science writer Pool lays out a rich, comprehensive view of the development of modern technologies, with a keen emphasis on how nontechnological factors--such as the sociological, political, and simply serendipitous--shape such complex technologies."--Library Journal "Lord, what fools we humans be in the face of complexity. But if you want to understand the nature and the possible antidotes for such foolishness, Pool's book offers an appropriately hlepful mix of speculation and substance."--Across the Board "If you're interested not just in how things work but also why they work that way, pick [eyond Engineering] up."--John Burgess, The Washington Post

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