The Age of Electronic Messages

The Age of Electronic Messages
by John G. Truxal

The MIT Press
YA, C, GA **


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This text is part of a series sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that attempts to reinvigorate undergraduate liberal arts programs by providing meaningful experiences with technology and quantitative approaches to problem solving. The book's subject is electronic communications technology. It includes discussions of topics such as coding theory, electrical safety, resonance, analog signal structure, human hearing and engineering models, digital signals, electromagnetic transmission, radio, television, medical ultrasonic imaging, broadcasting, and narrowcasting. The scientific theory underpinning the technology is clearly and simply presented. Although brief, uncomplicated trigonometric calculations appear in the segment on AC electricity, the subject matter is presented in an engaging way using examples from everyday experience, including automobiles, toasters, telephones, the universal product code of retail stores, and police radar. The text and problem sections cleverly draw the reader into broad issues concerning the impact of technology on society, such as the reduction in the work force caused by automation and the effects of long-term electromagnetic radiation on people. The text demonstrates how engineering design juggles cost, safety, and quality. This book is an excellent guide to electronic communications for liberal arts undergraduates, general audiences, and advanced high school students.

--Reviewed by William Troxler in Science Books and Films, 26/2 (November/December 1990), p. 119.