Energy in Nature and Society: General Energetics of Complex Systems

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9780262195652: Energy in Nature and Society: General Energetics of Complex Systems

Energy in Nature and Society is a systematic and comprehensive analysis of all the major energy sources, storages, flows, and conversions that have shaped the evolution of the biosphere and civilization. Vaclav Smil uses fundamental unifying metrics (most notably for power density and energy intensity) to provide an integrated framework for analyzing all segments of energetics (the study of energy flows and their transformations). The book explores not only planetary energetics (such as solar radiation and geomorphic processes) and bioenergetics (photosynthesis, for example) but also human energetics (such as metabolism and thermoregulation), tracing them from hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies through modern-day industrial civilization. Included are chapters on heterotrophic conversions, traditional agriculture, preindustrial complexification, fossil fuels, fossil-fueled civilization, the energetics of food, and the implications of energetics for the environment. The book concludes with an examination of general patterns, trends, and socioeconomic considerations of energy use today, looking at correlations between energy and value, energy and the economy, energy and quality of life, and energy futures.

Throughout the book, Smil chooses to emphasize the complexities and peculiarities of the real world, and the counterintuitive outcomes of many of its processes, over abstract models. Energy in Nature and Societyis a broad and unique, single-volume analysis and reference source on all important energy matters, from natural to industrial energy flows, from fuels to food, from the Earth's formation to possible energy futures, and can serve as a text for courses in energy studies, global ecology, earth systems science, biology, and chemistry.

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About the Author:

Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba and the author of many books, including Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties (2005), Energy in Nature and Society: General Energetics of Complex Systems (2007), Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years (2008), and Why America Is Not a New Rome (2010), all published by the MIT Press. He was awarded the 2007 Olivia Schieffelin Nordberg Award for excellence in writing and editing in the population sciences.

Review:

"The economist Julian Simon once called energy the 'master resource.' With this marvelously erudite, wonderfully detailed book, Vaclav Smil once again shows that when it comes to insightful discussions of the myriad complexities and consternations of the master resource, he is, without question, the master."
Robert Bryce, energy journalist and managing editor of Energy Tribune

"This is the book for the curious of any stripe who wants to dig in quantitatively and improve his or her ability to think about whole energy systems and their complex parts. In a sense, Smil has created a geography of biospheric energies, the most complete sweep of the subject. The world needs the wisdom in this book now more than ever."
John Katzenberger, Aspen Global Change Institute

"Vaclav Smil's appreciation of energy systems combines Thomas Edison and Franz Kafka. He celebrates innovation and progress but also vividly shows the strange fates and fall-out of what appear to be some of humanity's best machines."
Jesse H. Ausubel, Director, Program for the Human Environment, The Rockefeller University

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Vaclav Smil
Editore: The MIT Press (2008)
ISBN 10: 0262195658 ISBN 13: 9780262195652
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Descrizione libro The MIT Press, 2008. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 262195658

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