How can you turn down a book that offers to teach you the basics of a subject in just over 100 pages? We can’t, and that’s why we’re big fans of Oxford University Press’ (OUP) Very Short Introduction series of books over at E&T.
This month we’re teaming up our pals over at OUP to give a few lucky readers the opportunity to sink their teeth into some new reading material from the huge range of engineering and technology-specific subjects available throughout the series.
Enter our giveaway for your chance to win a fabulous bundle of all three books. We have five bundles to give away to selected readers of E&T online. Just comment on this post by next Friday (17 June) to be in with the chance of winning.
Since their launch in 2000 the range of ‘short and sweet’ books have taken the lead in introducing readers to a whole range of subjects they previously knew nothing about, from Accounting right through to Zionism, with more than a few stops along the way. The books are packed full of facts and analysis, but presented in a readable and enthusiastic matter so as to make even the most challenging topics widely accessible. What’s more, they’re small enough to fit into your coat pocket, making the perfect companion for a lonely train journey.
Computer Science: A Very Short Introduction
Computer science as a discipline first emerged in the 1960s and was perhaps somewhat neglected as a field of study, hidden as it was behind the shadow of the Iron Curtain, surpassed by the civil rights movement, and outdone by feminists fighting for equal rights. Yet the emergence of a new science – the science of a machine that would go on to revolutionise the 20th century – is arguably of no less important than many of the great things happening in this era.
The computer is one of the defining features of modern society, having revolutionised the way we live and work. The invention of the first electronic computer in the 1940s was without a doubt one of the most important developments of the 20th century. As I sit here typing this, I am accompanied by a chorus of colleagues tip-tapping at their laptops. Enter any office building and you will experience the same – nothing is done via pen and paper anymore. The majority of us own and use a computer and possibly even a smart phone and tablet. Yet despite this, the science behind the machine is less understood outside of the professional science community.
In Computer Science: A Very Short Introduction, Subrata Dasgupta offers the intellectually curious reader an understanding of the fundamental nature of computer science. This concise, enthusiastic and wholly-accessible overview of the topic was written to enrich the public understanding of this influential, yet strange new field of study, and, above all, to answer the question: what is computer science?
Materials: A Very Short Introduction
In its rawest form, a material is simply useful matter, which pretty much includes anything that can be utilised in some way, ranging from steel and concrete used in construction, through to gas, food and fertilisers used in production, and stretching as far as ivory and porcelain sold in small indigenous marketplaces. In its simplest form, a material is a material as soon as somebody uses it – simple enough, isn’t it?
While the concept of a material may be easy enough to understand, more complex is their effect of the societies that use them. Materials shape the cultures that apply them and advances in new technology depend on innovation in materials. Think about the exciting new improvements spreading in the news surrounding graphene production and utilisation. Without new materials, there are limits to how far technology can progress, and so how far a society can grow and adapt.
In Materials: A Very Short Introduction, Christopher Hall introduces new readers to the history, progression and development of material production, from the early days of gold, sand and string, through revolutions in industrial production, and into more modern issues of sustainability. If you want to learn more about how societies develop and adapt, then this is the ideal book to add to your collection. To understand change, you need look no further than the materials behind the scenes.
Structural Engineering: A Very Short Introduction
Last year, I took the elevator up 108 stories to the top of the International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong, a skyscraper so huge that it is often obscured by the clouds. Sitting in the skybar, sipping champagne with friends, it’s easy to ignore the work that must have gone into such a phenomenally huge building, although less easy to escape the feeling of being so gut-wrenchingly high off the ground.
At 484 m (1,588 ft), the ICC is by no means the tallest building in the world, not by a long shot. It pales in comparison to the Khalifa Tower in Dubai, which stands at a mammoth 829.8 m (2,722 ft) tall. What’s even crazier is the idea of the proposed Dubai City Tower, which, should it ever come to fruition, could reach a staggering 2,400 m (7,874 ft). The mind boggles at the mere prospect of such a structure, and this raises the question, how is such a building even possible? How can you even begin to plan for a structure that would extend more than a mile into the air?
In answer to this we turn to the structural engineer, the persona behind the building, responsible for taking materials from a mere pile of components, to a fully functional structure. Structural engineering, although often lumped into the same category as architecture, is far removed from the realms of beauty and design and instead takes the strategy behind construction into account. In Structural Engineering: A Very Short Introduction, David Blockey delves into the world of the structural engineer, with a brief glimpse into the science and engineering behind how large manmade objects are created.
Terms and conditions
This giveaway is open to UK entrants only and runs until 17/06/2016 at midday. There are five sets of three books available. There is no cash alternative and the prize is not transferable. Employees of the IET and their families may not enter.
A winner will be picked at random and contacted via email. If they do not respond within 3 days, another winner will be picked. The winner’s name will be announced on this web page after the prize has been claimed and the prize delivered as soon as possible. Entrants’ details will be used only in connection with this competition and not retained or passed to any third parties.
E&T, as the promoter, reserves the right to cancel or amend the giveaway and these terms and conditions without notice.