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A book to spark the imagination?

  1. Nov 18, 2005 #1
    Does anyone know of any good books that are about engineering/engineering history that are really good at motivating and sparking the imagination of a prospective engineer?

    I have loved pure mathematics for a few years, and I realize I've read many books on its history, its "big names", etc. I am considering a major in engineering, but I just don't have that imaginative drive that I feel with pure mathematics.

    The thing is, I don't know if that's because I find engineering boring compared to pure math, or if it's just because I haven't been exposed to passionate writers on the subject. Right now I'm considering a major in engineering because it's a little more practical than pure mathematics (I don't think I'm cut out to be a teacher).

    Also in a lot of math writing there seems to be a little bit of a disdain for the physisists/engineers (not blatant, but a subtle disdain). I wonder I am the victim of anti-engineering propoganda? :)

    So if anyone can recommend some books about engineering that will inspire me and spark my imagination, that would be awesome! I will need some "fuel" if I'm gonna succeed at this major!

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2005 #2


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    Here's a few which got my enthusiasm back up when I was considering sacking my degree off:

    Backroom Boys - Francis Spufford, Faber, ISBN 0-571-21497-5
    Flying Butresses, Entropy & O-Rings - James Adams, Harvard, ISBN 0-674-30689-9
    Invention by Design - Henry Petroski, Harvard, ISBN 0-674-46368-4
  4. Nov 29, 2005 #3
    do a seach on a gentleman call Buck mister Fuller, I promise Bucky will blow you mind away in more ways that ones, from Houses made with similar technogy to airplanes with naca foils to change the air to recycle rain water and well made quality with out a incredibly high cost, to all the fancy geodesic domes (applied Math and basic geometry right in your face) to the incredible Dimaxion car, that somehow never got to see production thanks to the big car companies pressure.

    also is a really old book, full of Photografs and not much text call the "Shelter" and is a recolection of "Houses and duelings" from all over the world, ussing the Indigenous materials of the region, and very basic fisics concept...

    If that dose not get you blood flowing i think you need Electro shocks.

    If I have those books at my reach to inspire me when i was in high School my life will be so so diferent, I hate school because i did not really see the practical aplications so today I make my business to show others that Aplyed knowhow can be extremlly fun not to mension very useful.
  5. Dec 2, 2005 #4


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    Actually, Buckminster Fuller, but google would probably offer the correction itself anyway.

    One of the more interesting books I've read is "Fire in the Valley" by Paul Freiberger:


    It's about the birth of the personal computer industry, and about Silicon Valley. I got goosebumps in a few parts of the book. It's mainly computer hardware and software oriented, but there is a lot of good stuff about entrepreneurial spirit, perseverence, and downright smart thinking. Good stuff.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  6. Dec 2, 2005 #5
    UPpss thanks for the correction....

    I suck at spelling things among a few other things.
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