Books  Physical Sciences  Earth & Planetary Sciences  Earth & Planetary Sciences: General 

Energies: An Illustrated Guide to the Biosphere and Civilization

By: Vaclav Smil (Author)

210 pages, illustrations

MIT Press

Paperback | Apr 2000 | #106845 | ISBN: 026269235X
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £15.95 $20/€19 approx
Hardback | Jan 1999 | #86537 | ISBN: 0262194104
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £34.95 $45/€42 approx

About this book

In this highly original book, ecologist Vaclav Smil presents a comprehensive and integrated survey of all the forms of energy that shape our world, from the sun to the human body, from bread to microchips. Written in a scientifically sophisticated yet accessible style, Energies consists of eighty-two short essays organized under six headings: Sun and Earth, Plants and Animals, People and Food, Preindustrial Societies, Fossil-Fueled Civilization, and Transportation and Information. Each essay explains the science of the energy form as well as its implications for the functioning of the universe, life, or human society.

"Dip into the book anywhere, and you will find a bracing fact or connection [...] dazzling."
Scientific American

"Filled with interesting factual tidbits, this book rekindles the fascination with science that we all once had as children."
– Richard N. Cooper, Foreign Affairs

"A thought-provoking and enjoyable piece of work."
– Wolfgang Rueckner, Harvard University


 


Contents

- An overview of concepts and units.

Part 1 Sun and earth
- sun
- solar radiation
- atmosphere
- planet Earth
- winds
- rains
- oceans
- rivers
- Earth's heat
- geotectonics
- earthquakes
- volcanoes
- denudation
- space encounters

Part 2 Plants and animals
- adenosine triphosphate
- archaea and bacteria
- photosynthesis
- C3 and C4 plants
- phytoplankton
- forests
- grasslands
- heterotropic metabolism
- reproduction
- growth
- endotherms and ectotherms
- food chains
- herbivores
- carnivores
- swimming
- running and jumping
- flying

Part 3 People and food
- basal metabolism
- thermoregulation
- pregnancy and lactation
- human growth
- walking and running
- labour and leisure
- nutrients
- grains
- bread
- lipids and meat
- milk
- ethanol

Part 4 Preindustrial societies
- hunters and gatherers
- shifting cultivation
- traditional agricultures
- cattle
- horses
- wood, charcoal and straw
- waterwheels
- windmills
- copper, iron and steel
- gunpowder
- sailships

Part 5 Fossil-fuelled civilization
- fossil fuels and electricity
- coals
- crude oils
- natural gases
- steam engines
- steam turbines
- water turbines
- fission reactors
- transmission
- electric motors
- lights
- internal combustion engines
- gas turbines
- blast furnaces
- aluminium
- nitrogen
- nuclear weapons

Part 6 Transportation and information
- trains
- ships
- bicycles
- cars
- airplanes
- rockets
- pipelines
- tankers
- telephones
- radio and television
- computer and microchips


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