Nuts and Bolts: Seven Small Inventions That Changed the World in a Big Way (Hardcover)
A structural engineer examines the seven most basic building blocks of engineering that have shaped the modern world.
Some of engineering’s mightiest achievements are small in scale, even hidden—and yet, without them, the complex machinery on which our modern world runs would not exist. In Nuts and Bolts, Roma Agrawal examines seven of these extraordinary elements: the nail, the wheel, the spring, the lens, the magnet, the string, and the pump.
From the physics behind both Roman nails and modern skyscrapers to rudimentary springs that inspired lithium batteries, Agrawal shows us how even the most sophisticated items are built on the foundations of these ancient and fundamental breakthroughs in engineering. Agrawal explores an array of intricate technologies—dishwashers, spacesuits, microscopes, suspension bridges, breast pumps—making surprising connections, explaining how they work, and using her own hand-drawn illustrations to clarify complex technical principles. Along the way, she recounts the stories of remarkable scientists and engineers from all over the world, and reveals how engineering has fundamentally changed the way we live.
— Mark Miodownik, materials scientist, engineer, and author of Stuff Matters
There is passion for engineering on every single page.... Roma Agrawal has a special skill of reawakening that part of us that simply wants to understand how the built world works, and to dream of creating our own machines.
— Angela Saini, author of Inferior
A masterclass in storytelling.... Agrawal is the perfect narrator: her curiosity, technical knowledge, and excitement fill every page. It left me inspired by the ingenuity of historic engineers and optimistic for future innovation.
— Jess Wade, physicist and author of Nano
Inside this wonderfully engaging book is a profound message: that so much of technology comes from ingenious reiterations of just a few innovations in engineering.... Roma Agrawal brings these inventions vividly to life.
— Philip Ball, author of The Book of Minds
Essential reading for budding engineers, young and old.
— Anna Ploszajski, materials scientist, engineer, and author of Handmade
Fascinating stories behind the humble devices that make our human world work, told with an engineer’s infectious excitement and enthusiasm for detail.
— Gaia Vince, author of Nomad Century