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Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down

Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down

Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down
By J. E. Gordon

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(93 customer reviews)

Book Description

For anyone who has ever wondered why suspension bridges don't collapse under eight lanes of traffic, how dams hold back-or give way under-thousands of gallons of water, or what principles guide the design of a skyscraper or a kangaroo, this book will ease your anxiety and answer your questions. J. E. Gordon strips engineering of its confusing technical terms, communicating its founding principles in accessible, witty prose.

Book Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #47410 in eBooks
  • Published on: 2009-04-28
  • Released on: 2009-04-28
  • Format: Kindle eBook

Editorial Reviews

"It is really, really good if you want a primer on structural design."―Elon Musk

"Rich and readable...personal, witty, and ironic."―Scientific American

"Here we have the conversation in unbuttoned mood of a learned engineer with wide sympathies about his art, its history, its range, and the silly things which happen. It reads easily and has immense charm."―Architect's Journal

About the Author
James Edward Gordon was born in 1913. He took a degree in naval architecture at Glasgow University and worked in wood and steel shipyards, intending to design sailing ships. On the outbreak of the Second World War he moved to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, where he worked on wooden aircraft, plastics and unorthodox materials of all kinds. He designed the sailing rescue dinghies carried at one time by most bomber aircraft. He later became head of the plastic structures sections at Farnborough and developed a method of construction in reinforced plastics which is now used for a number of purpose in aircraft and rockets. For several frustrating years he worked in industry on the strength of glass and the growth of strong 'whisker' crystals. In 1962 he returned to government service as superintendent of an experimental branch at Waltham Abbey concerned with research and development of entirely new structural materials, most of which were based on 'whiskers'. He was Industrial Fellow Commoner at Churchill College, Cambridge, and became Professor of Materials Technology at the University of Reading, where he was later Professor Emeritus. He was awarded the British Silver Medal of the Royal Aeronautical Society for work on aircraft plastics and also the Griffith Medal of the Materials Science Club for contributions to material science. His book, Structures or Why Things Don't Fall Down, is also published in Penguin. Professor Gordon died in 1998. In its obituary The Times wrote of him that he was 'one of the founders of materials science' and that he wrote 'two books of outstanding literary quality ... at once entertaining and informative, providing absorbing interest for both expert and student'.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful.
5Five Stars
By Clarence Darrow
I thought this would be a bit dry, but it's geared toward the layperson, and it's informative and entertaining.

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
5Not reading this book is a sin for every educated man.
By Amazon Customer
J.E.Gordon has taken a remarkable lifetime worth of experiences, the history of aviation, industrialization, railways, shipbuilding and classical culture and put them all into a single, entertaining and tantalizing package. After reading this volume you will have a better understanding of structures, history and society. It is thus no surprise that after four decades it is still a compulsory reading in all major engineering courses.
Yet he goes beyond the science and history: he gives a human dimension to the machines and structures that uphold our society. Through this lens the way we look at society and its interaction with its inventions is exposed in all its beauty and ugliness.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5He enjoyed reading this book
By Christopher Chen
I purchased this book for my father since he is very much into books with a wealth of knowledge and also because he is expanding his book collection for his library. He enjoyed reading this book.

See all 93 customer reviews...
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