From classical temples to twentieth century towers, engineers have learned more about design from failure than from success. The concept of error, according to the author of Design Paradigms, is central to the design process. As a way of explaining the enduring aspects of engineering design, Henry Petroski relates stories of some of the greatest engineering successes and failures of all time. These case studies, drawn from a wide range of times and places, from Ancient Greece and Rome to modern America, serve as paradigms of error and judgment in engineering design. By showing how errors were introduced in the design process and how they might be avoided, the book suggests how better quality and reliability might be achieved in designed devices, structures, and systems of all kinds. Clearly written, with striking illustrations, the book will appeal to engineering students, practicing engineers, historians of science and technology, and all those interested in learning about the process of design.
'The reader will be well served, especially because the case histories are so interesting and well presented in themselves.' N. A. F. Smith, Nature 'Extremely well documented and illustrated ... Design Paradigms can be read by all those interested in engineering, not just structural engineers.' Tom Wyatt, New Scientist '...excellent,it should be essential reading for every student, practising engineer and manager of engineering work.' Journal of Naval Engineering '... will prove fascinating and intelligible to the non-technical reader.' Professor Ronald N. Bracewell, TImes Higher Educational Supplement '... a lively and informative read, it presents a dozen excellent case studies from 2000 years of structural engineering history, showing how engineers can learn from failures.' Bill Addis, New Scientist