An original investigation into the social and technological history of solar power
From the days of Archimedes and Leonardo, the earliest efforts to harness the power of the sun have become the stuff of legend.
But it was not until the industrial revolution, with its great demands for fuel, that inventors --like Prometheus carrying fire from Mt. Olympus--began to build machines capable of channeling the sun's rays into usable energy.
In The Power of Light, solar energy expert Frank Kryza recounts the dramatic saga of solar invention, from its optimistic dawning in the mid-19th century to its impending triumph today. With a fervent passion for his subject, the author introduces solar pioneers such as Auguste Mouchot, whose solar-powered steam engine amazed Napoleon III, and Frank Shuman, whose solar pumping station, in 1911, became the largest and most cost-effective machine prior to the space age.
While presenting a thorough and original investigation into this little-known chapter of science history, The Power of Light offers a sober meditation on the revolutionary impact technology often has on society.
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Harnessing the sun's energy has been one of mankind's oldest fantasies, an elusive dream that has haunted us since the days when Archimedes allegedly used mirrors to set fire to hostile Roman ships and Leonardo da Vinci first proposed that the same technology could be used for peaceful means. But it was not until the Industrial Revolution, with its insatiable demand for fuel, that modern inventors--like Prometheus carrying fire from Mt. Olympus--began to build machines capable of channeling the sun's rays into usable energy.
The Power of Light is a dramatic narrative of those Prometheans and their furious technological quest to create the ultimate "Sun Machine." Told with a fervent passion, and without chastising or proselytizing, the story opens during the last gasps of the Industrial Revolution. With its grimy cities, its black and billowing smokestacks, it was a time for the realization of previously unimaginable projects, a time that gave birth to a cornucopia of new inventions and visionary dreamers--some bound for immortality, and others whose genius would be forever shrouded in obscurity.
In this original investigation into a little-known chapter of the history of science, we follow the story of Frank Shuman, a Brooklyn-born, self-educated inventor who dreamed up a 1000-horsepower solar-powered behemoth to pump the Nile River onto parched Egyptian cotton fields--a dream that would be deferred, overshadowed by the hand of fate and the bugle-call of world war. Along Shuman's path, we meet the luminaries of solar invention--Augustin Mouchot, William Adams, Aubrey Eneas, and a host of others--all the while tracing the incredible saga of solar power, from its roots in ancient history to its optimistic dawning in the industrial age to its impending triumph today.
"Tall, soot-encrusted factory chimneys sprang up amid the grimy, gaslit cities of the industrial age, each one proclaiming, in Carlyle's phrase, another 'Stygian forge with fire-throat and never-resting sledge-hammers.'. . .It was in this era that men first thought seriously of the sun as a source of energy to fuel the colossal engines of the new economy. . . . Mastery of the sun seemed tantalizingly close in the age of steam -- one had only to substitute the heat of the sun for wood fires and coal flames. The engineers of the nineteenth century worked with forces large enough to give them the sense, for the first time in history, that they were masters of nature, in possession of the instruments they needed to change the conditions of life profoundly. Why not tame the sun's energy?"--from Chapter One
When we think of solar power, most of us imagine silicon cells, not steam engines. We think of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, not the nineteenth. But in that age of wondrous scientific adventure, when steam-driven trains rolled along the elevated railways of American cities, and urban streets were newly lit by electricity; when men of science believed that nature should be harnessed, controlled, and dominated by humankind, a handful of unbridled visionaries looked skyward, into the blinding light of the sun, for a new source of inexhaustible energy.
This is the gripping, untold story of those men and their unflagging quest to turn sunlight into gold.About the Author:
Frank Kryza has spent 20 years in the energy industry, abroad and at home. A former newspaper reporter and editor in Connecticut, he holds an undergraduate degree from Yale College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
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Descrizione libro McGraw-Hill, 2003. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110071400214
Descrizione libro McGraw-Hill, 2003. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 1. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0071400214
Descrizione libro McGraw-Hill, 2003. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria M0071400214
Descrizione libro Condizione libro: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Codice libro della libreria 97800714002131.0