What A Great Idea! Inventions That Changed The World

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9780590681445: What A Great Idea! Inventions That Changed The World

Steve Tomecek discusses 45 inventions that really shook up society. These big ideas inspired many other inventions and illuminate the changes that technology has made throughout time.

From the hand ax and mathematics to IC chips and the laser, each technological touchstone in human history is described and placed in historical context. Each profile includes the who (if we know it), how the idea developed and how it works, the immediate impact of the idea, and the technological 'children' of the idea. The time span is 3500 BC to today. The author closes with an epilogue that looks into the future, a bibliography, and a list of great Web sites for young inventors.
Realistic, 4-color paintings, in technical drawing style, showcase the idea and its applications by humans.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-9-Rather than presenting a "how it works" compendium or a series of mini-biographies, Tomecek puts significant inventions and discoveries in a historical context. Dividing the text into five broad time periods, he offers a series of essays on important advances that occurred in each "age." For example, the Metal Age (3500 B.C.-A.D. 1) includes discussions of measurement, money, irrigation, waterwheels, and maps. Each two-page explanation provides some background and a brief description of how the invention works as well as information about its impact on society and on later discoveries. What emerges is a sense of interconnectedness that other books often lack. Especially in the early essays, the influence of Chinese, Egyptian, and other civilizations is clear. However, even the explanations of recent discoveries acknowledge that inventions seldom occur in isolation. Full-color diagrams and illustrations are well integrated into each spread, providing additional insights into the topic without cluttering the pages. Although Tomecek mentions only a fraction of the inventors and inventions covered in Roger Bridgman's 1000 Inventions and Discoveries (DK, 2002), his work not only highlights past accomplishments but also encourages further explorations.
Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Gr. 3-6. Tomecek assembles general information on major inventions under five broad time periods: the ancient world before 3,000 B.C.E.; the metal age from 3,500 B.C.E. through A.D. 1; the age of discovery from A.D. 1 through 1799; the age of electricity and communication from 1799 to 1887; and the age of the atom from 1887 to the present. The hand ax, the wheel, the clock, writing, clothing, mathematics, and the computer are among innovations introduced, with each topic covered in a two-page spread that describes "how it works" and its impact on human civilization. Tomecek's informal, yet straightforward, style is appealing, and detailed, attractive color illustrations add both information and visual appeal. A short bibliography, a selection of annotated Web site recommendations, and a few inventors' contests are appended. A good choice for basic questions about various technologies. Ed Sullivan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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