Caramel loves to read and review books which are about real things, see his reviews of books on samurai, dinosaurs, knights and castles, and dental health . He also loves building and making things. So it was only natural that when he discovered Engineering: An Illustrated History from Ancient Craft to Modern Technology, edited by Tom Jackson, in the book bunnies’ home library, he had to read it immediately. Below he shares some of his thoughts on this reference text. Sprinkles is taking notes as usual and asking followup questions.
Sprinkles: How should we start this review Caramel?
Caramel: You just did!
S: Yeah, I did, didn’t I? So what next? What do you want to say about this book?
C: It’s a good book. If you are a bunny who wants to be an engineer when you grow up, this might be the book for you.
S: Why do you say that?
C: The book has a bunch of engineering examples.
S: Yes, the back cover advertises “100 achievements that changed history”. So there are 100 different engineering-related entries in the book, going more or less in chronological order. That means they are listed from the oldest to the newest. Can you tell us a few of your favorites?
C: 65 is Jet Power and it is one of my favorites. But my favorite in the whole book is 73: SR-71 Blackbird.
S: What is that?
C: It’s a spy plane.
S: What does that mean?
C: It means they spy on the enemy. It says it is radar-absorbing, which makes it harder to detect. I also like 82: Stealth Plane, a lot.
C: And there is 75: Apollo Spacecraft. The NASA program for it was launched in 1961, it says.
S: And there is more information on it on Wikipedia in case others are interested. So each of these entries is about one page, right?
C: Yes. Exactly one page. And there are pictures and I like looking at them.
S: Then there is text, describing the entry, and telling some of its history, right?
S: So what is the first entry?
C: Let me see. First there is some stuff about engineering and applied science. Then they start with 1: Stone Technology. And 2 is Taming Fire. 3 is The First Boats.
S: Wow! It goes way back! So how far back does it go?
C: It goes way back. Let me read the beginning of 1 to you:
“Engineering with stone technology is older than the human race. Distant ancestors of homo sapiens (modern humans) began making and using stone tools as long as 3.3 million years ago.”
S: That is a long time ago. To compare, do you remember how long ago the dinosaurs went extinct?
C: About sixty-five million years ago. I already reviewed a book about them!
S: So dinosaurs were around even earlier.
C: That’s for sure.
S: So what is the last achievement they list in the book?
C: 100 is Solar Power. Then there is a long section called Engineering 101: The Basics.
S: What’s in that section?
C: There is a part named Imponderables where they ask questions like: “Will space planes change transportation?”, “What will graphene do for us?”, “Will we run out of raw materials?”, “Can engineering solve climate change?”, “Can screens replace paper?”
S: Very interesting questions. The one about screens and paper is about books and reading, I think. We still love reading paper books, right?
C: Yes. This book for instance. It has lots of colorful pictures I can look at.
S: Screens could have colored pictures, too, of course, but holding a book in your paws is a neat experience. So are we done with the review?
C: Yes. Stay tuned for more Book Bunnies adventures!
4 thoughts on “Caramel reviews Engineering: An Illustrated History from Ancient Craft to Modern Technology, edited by Tom Jackson”
What a wonderful book for a little bunny aspiring to a career in science.
I had a friend that worked on the SR-71. He told me that after every 100 hours of flight time, they had to replace the tempered glass windshield! The windshield got so hot at the speeds the SR-71 flew, that the glass would lose its temper and if not changed, it could shatter during flight.
The SR-71 eventually became obsolete, as spy satellites became readily available.
On another note, as a young bunny starting my scientific career, I had the pleasure of once meeting Dr. Shockley, one of the three Nobel prize winners for the discovery of the transistor.
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