Cover image for Scientific American inventions and discoveries : all the milestones in ingenuity-from the discovery of fire to the invention of the microwave oven
Scientific American inventions and discoveries : all the milestones in ingenuity-from the discovery of fire to the invention of the microwave oven
Carlisle, Rodney P.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hoboken, NJ : Wiley, [2004]

Physical Description:
ix, 502 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
T15 .C378 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
T15 .C378 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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A unique A-to-Z reference of brilliance in innovation and invention

Combining engagingly written, well-researched history with the respected imprimatur of Scientific American magazine, this authoritative, accessible reference provides a wide-ranging overview of the inventions, technological advances, and discoveries that have transformed human society throughout our history.

More than 400 entertaining entries explain the details and significance of such varied breakthroughs as the development of agriculture, the ""invention"" of algebra, and the birth of the computer. Special chronological sections divide the entries, providing a unique focus on the intersection of science and technology from early human history to the present. In addition, each section is supplemented by primary source sidebars, which feature excerpts from scientists' diaries, contemporary accounts of new inventions, and various ""In Their Own Words"" sources.

Comprehensive and thoroughly readable, Scientific American Inventions and Discoveries is an indispensable resource for anyone fascinated by the history of science and technology.

Topics include:

aerosol spray * algebra * Archimedes' Principle * barbed wire * canned food * carburetor * circulation of blood * condom * encryption machine * fork * fuel cell * latitude * music synthesizer * positron * radar * steel * television * traffic lights * Heisenberg's uncertainty principle

Author Notes

Rodney Carlisle, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University and Senior Associate at History Associates Inc. of Rockville, Maryland

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Despite excluding night baseball and sliced bread, Carlisle's collection of the most important inventions includes the items that come immediately to mind, from beer to stainless steel. Formally arranged as an encyclopedia divided into six historical periods, the 418 inventions and 100 discoveries about nature are more a browser's trove suited to readers keen on the history of technology. That genre has been strikingly vibrant in the past decade, during which many of the devices Carlisle selects have received book-length examination, for example the copy machine (see Copies in Seconds 0 by David Owen, p.1885). Carlisle, a university professor, strives to impart a general appreciation for the widest trends of technological progress, pausing at junctures such as the decline of the Roman Empire to discuss the state of humanity's tool kit. The entries themselves are compact, studded with boldface references to other inventions that highlight how most innovations are dependent on a previous one. For libraries updating their history-of-technology collection. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

This fact-filled compendium will delight students with a passion for science and technology, no matter what their age. Covering the history of humanity in five parts, from the ancient world to the present, Carlisle, a professor emeritus at Rutgers and an authority on the history of technology, explains the origins of objects as common as the ballpoint pen and as complex as the periodic table of elements. There are surprises to be found: for instance, while we associate the invention of the arch with the Romans, Carlisle says pre-Roman arches have been found in Egypt. On a less serious note, while the origin of the word ?whisky? is Gaelic (?uisge?), distilled liquors probably existed as far back as 800 B.C. in China. Illustrations, summary tables (such as chronologies) and sidebars with pungent quotes from historical sources enrich the readable text. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
General Introductionp. 1
Part I The Ancient World through Classical Antiquity, 8000 B.C. to A.D. 330p. 9
Part II The Middle Ages through 1599p. 81
Part III The Age of Scientific Revolution, 1600 to 1790p. 149
Part IV The Industrial Revolution, 1791 to 1890p. 223
Part V The Electrical Age, 1891 to 1934p. 319
Part VI The Atomic and Electronic Age, 1935 into the 21st Centuryp. 397
Indexp. 481