To Engineer Is Human The Role of Failure in Successful Design

ISBN-10: 0679734163

ISBN-13: 9780679734161

Edition: 1992

Authors: Henry Petroski
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Book details

List price: $15.95
Copyright year: 1992
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 3/31/1992
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

Henry Petroski is an American engineer with wide-ranging historical and sociocultural interests. He earned a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1968, and became Aleksandar S. Vesic professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University. Petroski teaches traditional engineering subjects, as well as courses for nonengineering students, that place the field in a broad social context. One of the major themes that transcends his technical and nontechnical publications is the role of failure and its contribution to successful design. This is the central theme in his study To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design, which is accessible to both engineers and general readers. This theme is also incorporated into Petroski's The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance (1990), which relates the history of the pencil to broader sociocultural themes. The theme is expanded further, illustrating the relationship of engineering to our everyday life in The Evolution of Useful Things (1992). Petroski's most recent book, Design Paradigms: Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering, is planned for publication in 1994. After that, he will begin a study of the complex interrelationships between engineering and culture. Widely recognized and supported by both the technical and humanities communities, Petroski's work has effectively conveyed the richness and essence of engineering in its societal context for the general reader.

Preface
Being Human
Falling Down is Part of Growing up
Lessons From Play; Lessons From Life Appendix: "The Deacon's Masterpiece,"
Engineering as Hypothesis
Success is Foreseeing Failure
Design is Getting From Here to There
Design as Revision
Accidents Waiting to Happen
Safety in Numbers
When Cracks Become Breakthroughs
Of Bus Frames and Knife Blades
Interlude: The Success Story of the Crystal Palace
The Ups and Downs of Bridges
Forensic Engineering and Engineering Fiction
From Slide Rule to Computer: Forgetting How it Used to be Done
Connoisseurs of Chaos
The Limits of Design
Afterword
Bibliography
Index
List of Illustrations
Cartoons illustrating public concern over engineering failures
Models of the ubiquitous cantilever beam
The Brooklyn Bridge: Anticipating failure by the engineer and by the layman
The Crystal Palace: Testing the galleries and finding them sound
The Crystal Palace and two of its modern imitators
Suspension bridges: The Tacoma Narrows and after
The Kansas City Hyatt Regency walkways collapse
The Mianus River Bridge collapse and its aftermath
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