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Henry Petroski


Henry Petroski is the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of history at Duke University. He has written on many aspects of engineering and technology, including design, success and failure, error and judgment, the history of engineering and technology, and the use of case studies in education and practice. His books on these subjects, which are intended for professional engineers and general readers alike, include: To Engineer Is Human, which was adapted for a BBC-television documentary; The Pencil; The Evolution of Useful Things; Design Paradigms, which was named by the Association of American Publishers as the best general engineering book published in 1994; Engineers of Dreams; Invention by Design; Remaking the World; The Book on the Bookshelf; Paperboy; Small Things Considered; and The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems. Other books are An Engineer’s Alphabet: Gleanings from the Softer Side of a Profession and To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure. His latest is The Road Taken: The History and Future of America’s Infrastructure. Address: Box 90287, Durham, NC 27708.

By this author :


Slide Rules: Gone But Not Forgotten *

Bottle and Can Openers as Levers *

Setbacks and Prospects for Autonomous Vehicles *

Lecterns Are Not Podiums *

Paying for Roads and Bridges *

How Paperweights Emerged from the Desk of Necessity *

Traffic Signals, Dilemma Zones, and Red-Light Cameras *

The Merritt Parkway and Other Driving Respites *

The Bridge that United Two Cities *

From Lowly Paper Clips to Towering Suspension Bridges *

An Incubator for Cooperation Across the Disciplines *

Global Shipping and the Raising of the Bayonne Bridge *

Robert Wilson: Fermilab’s Master Physicist, Sculptor, and Engineer

Second Life of a Tied-Arch Bridge *

Can an Engineer Appreciate Art? *

Anonymous Design *

Aspirants, Apprentices, and Student Engineers *

The Story of Two Houses

Rise and Fall of the Pocket Protector

Impossible Points, Erroneous Walks *

In Memory of the Offprint *

Unbuilding a Maine Landmark *

The Evolution of Eyeglasses *

Geothermal Energy *

Tappan Zee Bridge *

An Anthropomorphic Model *

Engineering in the Abstract *

Overarching Problems *

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Engineer *

Government Bridge *

Backseat Designers *

Opening Doors *

The Washington Monument *

Moving Obelisks *

Silver Bridge *

A Round Pie in a Square Box

Controlled Demolition *

Arches and Domes *

Bridges of the Mediterranean *

Rereading Vitruvius *

Hoover Dam Bypass *

Technology Plus *

Reusing Infrastructure *

Challenges and Prizes *

Occasional Design *

The Minneapolis Bridge *

Infrastructure *

Once an Engineer . . . *

Akashi Kaikyo Bridge *

Tacoma Narrows Bridges *

Machu Picchu *

Tower Cranes *

Scientists as Inventors *

William Barclay Parsons *

What's In a Name Tag? *

The Cantilever *

The Simplest Thing *

A Bridge and Observatory *

Thomas Telford *

Twists, Tags and Ties *

Thomas Telford *

Why Things Break *

Lab Notes *

Long Crossings *

Waldo-Hancock Bridge *

On the Road *

A Great Profession *

Things Small and Large *

Bridges of Charleston *

Levees and Other Raised Ground *

Shopping By Design *

Next Slide, Please *

Technology and the Humanities *

The Bay Bridge *

Painful Design *

Industrial Origami *

Past and Future Failures *

Lives of the Engineers *

Big Dig, Big Bridge *

Pyramids as Inclined Planes *

Deployable Structures *

Fax and Context

Boat Lifts *

Hotel Design *

Fuel Cells *

Floating Bridges *

Early Education *

St. Francis Dam *

Framing Hypotheses: A Cautionary Tale *

Dorton Arena: On the occasion of its 50th anniversary and its dedication as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark

Benjamin Franklin Bridge *

Art and Iron and Steel *

Delivering Papers *

The Civil Engineer: On the occasion of a sesquicentennial *

The Fall of Skyscrapers *

Everyday Design *

Millennium Legacies *

China Journal II *

China Journal I *

Bath Iron Works *

Twin Bridges *

Vanities of the Bonfire *

Concrete Canoes *

Human Factors *

Making Headlines *

Why 'The Pencil'? *

Time-Sensitive Material *

Buildings and Bookstacks *

Daubert and Kumho *

Drawing Bridges *

Work and Play *

Down Under *

Fazlur Khan *

New and Future Bridges *

From Connections to Collections *

Bilbao *

An Independent Inventor *

Technology and Societies *

John Scott Russell *

Feature Article

The Road Ahead