Discovery, Innovation, and Risk: Case Studies in Science and Technology

Discovery, Innovation and Risk: Case Studies in Science and Technology
by Copp, Newton H., and Andrew W. Zanella

(Illus.; from the New Liberal Arts series)
The MIT Press
0-262-03199-X; 0-262-53111-9 (paper)
Glossary; Index
YA-T, GA **


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This book provides an excellent and readable cross section of case studies that show clearly the interplay of science, engineering, hard work, and good luck that took part in the development of telegraphy, electric power, the airplane, gasoline, prestressed concrete, vaccines, and atomic power. Issues are well presented and analyzed, with hazards, risks, concerns, and failures given prominent play throughout. Relatively simple calculations and computations are developed as is necessary and are well integrated into the text. The style is clear, lucid, and very readable for anyone from the high school student to the general reader to the senior professor in whatever discipline. The volume should serve well in the classroom, although guest lectures by appropriate practitioners might be good supplementary material. The book might also be used as the basis for a public library discussion series. An appendix with some guidelines on solving or discussing end-of-chapter problems would be a useful addendum. While specialists may criticize superficiality and minor errors in their own areas, they should applaud the overall success of this presentation. The authors have provided us with an exemplary model for future interdisciplinary works.

--Reviewed by John H. Nickles in Science Books and Films, 29/5 (June/July 1993), p. 143.