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Ever wonder how a graceful and slender bridge can support enormous loads over truly astonishing spans? Why domes and free-standing arches survive earthquakes that flatten the rest of a city? Physicist Mark Denny looks at the large structures around us - tall buildings, long bridges, and big dams - and explains how they were designed and built and why they sometimes collapse, topple, or burst. Denny uses clear, accessible language to explain the physics behind such iconic structures as the Parthenon, the Eiffel Tower, the Forth Rail Bridge in Edinburgh, and Hoover Dam. His friendly approach allows readers to appreciate the core principles that keep these engineering marvels upright without having to master complex mathematical equations. Employing history, humor, and simple physics to consider such topics as when to use screws or nails, what trusses are, why iron beams are often I-shaped, and why medieval cathedrals have buttresses, Denny succeeds once again in making physics fun.
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About the Author

After earning a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Edinburgh University, Mark Denny pursued research at Oxford University from 1981 to 1984, then moved into a career in industry. He is the author of Ingenium: Five Machines That Changed the World; Blip, Ping, and Buzz: Making Sense of Radar and Sonar; Float Your Boat! The Evolution and Science of Sailing; and Froth! The Science of Beer, all of which are published by Johns Hopkins. Denny is now semi-retired and lives on Vancouver Island.

Reviews

Extraordinary guide to the hidden secrets of modern man-made miracles... Highly recommended. Midwest Book Review It will appeal to the interested layperson who is curious about how structures work and about the factors influencing their development over several millennia. It would also be useful background reading for students of architecture and building (and even of engineering, if you don't tell your professor). -- Peter R. Smith Architectural Science Review Denny's new book is perfused with this sense of excitement... It is to be recommended. -- Len Fisher Physics World The author's goal in writing this book is 'to explain, with technical accuracy but minimal math, why our large engineering structures... are built the way they are.' Denny, a theoretical physicist and author of numerous works facilitating an understanding of science concepts... does an excellent job with that. Choice This would be a good book to add to the school or department library, and anyone who is interested in the design of structures should find it an interesting read. -- Miriam Chaplin School Science Review Denny has written an accessible volume that should be informative and entertaining to physicists who are not expert in structural engineering. -- Derry W. Jones Contemporary Physics Structures stand, soar and collapse based on fundamental physics principles. Science News

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