This isn’t so much a book of the week as a series of the week. The Library has acquired a host of ‘A Very Short Introduction’ titles which range across wide variety of subjects.
The two highlighted here are just the tip of the iceberg of a series that runs to 400 volumes. The idea is to offer a very brief overview of a topic at just over 100 postcard sized pages. In an easy to read style with illustrations and further reading these act as excellent primers to subjects where you just need a starting point and don’t need (yet) to go into too much detail.
Civil Engineering: a very short introduction by David Muir Wood
Civil Engineering contains six chapters covering topics such as materials, robustness, water & waste and from concept to realization. There is also a chapter on ‘directing the great sources of power in nature’ which considers some of the rather vital environmental issues civil engineers face and gives examples of where there have been failures. A final chapter considers the future from traffic concerns through eco-cities to advances in tools, sensors and materials.
Engineering: a very short introduction by David Blockley
Engineering also has six chapters, this time on gravity, heat, electromagnetism and the age of information. The subtitles give a hint of the author’s lively and interesting approach which doesn’t allow a subject that might not initially grab you, to ever become dull. ‘time for work’, ‘the power of attraction’ and so on. Once again there is a final chapter looking to the future, ‘The age of systems – risky futures’.
For first year students of the relevant disciplines these are going to be useful starters but they’re probably of most use to those needing to look at a subject quickly from ‘outside’ as it were, or need inspiration for ideas to follow up. There is no shortage of other technology related titles on the Library catalogue from big subjects such as Cosmology and Galaxies to individuals such as Foucault and Galileo. We also have print or ebook versions of Statistics, Mathematics, Information, Superconductivity, Materials and Robotics to mention a few. And there are, of course, many many other titles in the sciences, arts, business or religion subject areas.