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An Engineer's Alphabet
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Table of Contents

Key engineering terms, A-Z.

Promotional Information

Written by America's most famous engineering educator, this abecedarium is a selection of thoughts, quotations and anecdotes from his profession.

About the Author

Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University. He has written broadly on the topics of design, success and failure, and the history of engineering and technology. His fifteen books on these subjects include To Engineer Is Human, The Pencil, The Evolution of Useful Things, Success through Failure and The Essential Engineer. In addition to his books, which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, Petroski has written numerous general-interest articles for publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, and he writes regular columns for both American Scientist and ASEE Prism. Petroski is a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and is a fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Engineers of Ireland. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

Reviews

'[This] book is a sheer delight and a powerful rebuff to anyone who believes in the persisting stereotype of an engineer as an unimaginative character who 'speaketh' in formulae. Petroski fully deserves Joseph Bordogna's definition of an engineer - 'society's master-integrator'.' Engineering and Technology
'There are plenty of gems to discover in the book. Many of them I would never have thought to even look up on the internet without being prompted, and in that respect the book is inspiring.' All That Matters blog
'An Engineer's Alphabet is a rare treat ... a book about the profession that might actually make you laugh.' Professional Engineering
'This book provides a wealth of background information that will be useful as well as entertaining. It is just as appropriate for a library shelf as it is for whiling away an hour or two during a train or plane journey.' Steve Webster, IOM3 Materials World magazine
"Henry Petroski has written a stocking stuffer sized book for every engineer on your shopping list with "An Engineer's Alphabet: Gleanings From the Softer Side of a Profession." Petroski shares his thoughts, trivia, and hodgepodge of all things engineering, from engineering fight songs to railroads to science fairs to explaining the cut-and-dry method." - HERALD SUN, DECEMBER 5, 2011
"This dictionary-like work is not meant to be read from cover to cover as one would read a novel, but is intended to be - as the author states - "dipped" into. Engineers may find it helpful in providing answers to those odd questions that come up from time to time and in laying out simple explanations of some common terms that engineers take for granted and most others know only in a more general way. Lay readers will find it absorbing, and at times amusing, as a guidebook to the mysterious workings of engineering." - Tony Spring, The Washington Independent Review of Books
"There are plenty of gems to discover in the book. Many of them I would never have thought to even look up on the internet without being prompted, and in that respect the book is inspiring. I certainly enjoyed browsing through the text." - Joerg Heber, Nature Materials
"This book provides a wealth of background information that will be useful as well as entertaining. It is just as appropriate for a library shelf as it is for whiling away an hour or two during a train or plane journey." - Steve Webster, Materials World Magazine, Aug 2012

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