Structures: Or Why Things Dont Fall Down (Pelican)

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9780140219616: Structures: Or Why Things Dont Fall Down (Pelican)

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, a nightgown, or a kangaroo, this book will ease your anxiety and answer your questions. Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down is an informal explanation of the basic forces that hold together the ordinary and essential things of this world from buildings and bodies to flying aircraft and eggshells. In a style that combines wit, a masterful command of his subject, and an encyclopedic range of reference, J. E. Gordon strips engineering of its technical mathematics and communicates the theory behind the structures of a wide variety of materials.Chapters on ”How to Design a Worm” and ”The Advantage of Being a Beam” offer humorous insights into human and natural creation. For architects and engineers there are cogent explanations of the concepts of stress, shear, torsion, fracture, and compression, and chapters on safety design and the relationship of efficiency to aesthetics. If you are building a house, a sailboat, or a catapult, here is a handy tool for understanding the mechanics of joinery, floors, ceilings, hulls, masts or flying buttresses. Without jargon or over-simplification, Structures surveys the nature of materials and gives sophisticated answers to the most naive questions, opening up the marvels of technology to anyone interested in the foundations of our everyday lives.

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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'.

Review:

"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

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Gordon, J E
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