I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is a book that would have been better if I read it instead of listen or it would be a good book for the e-book with whisper-sync. It was a bit hard to follow unless I took notes. Paul Nahin covered the innovative ideas and history of mathematician George Boole (1815-1864) and electrical engineer Claude Shannon (1918-2001). The book explained classic logic vs Boolean logic in depth. He also covered how Boolean algebra is the bases of electronic circuitry that everything today works on. He covered a great deal on data transmission and its importance in day to day live. The world would not function without this innovated body of work. Allan Robertson did a good job narrating the book.
Skunk Works is a personal memoir written by the chief engineer of Lockheed’s Skunk Works Ben Rick. The book tells of his first experiences at Lockheed during the 1950s; it ranges all the way past the First Gulf War.
The author describes the varied events that occurred and projects that were undertaken at Lockheed’s aerospace development wing. The first four chapters are about building the first stealth bomber. Rich tells how the name Skunk Works came about. He describes the U2 project and Blackbird.
Rich also tells about his co-workers and particularly his boss the genius Kelly Johnson. He also discusses his colleagues from other agencies such as the Air Force and the CIA. Rich covers many of the technical details and challenges that the Skunk Works’ team faced overcoming engineering problems as well as the difficulties of funding and politics. Rich also covers his personal life including the death of his wife. I enjoyed the comment from various fellow workers from Lockheed, Air Force offices and the various Secretary of Defenses and other political appointees.
This is a great book as it describes the almost impossible challenges the engineers rose to solve. The book is well written and moves right along. This is a book you will want to keep to use as a reference book. Pete Larkin narrated the book.
I graduated from UC Berkeley and the names of Lawrence and Sproul are on buildings on the campus. When I was in school my professors had been trained or had worked with Ernest O. Lawrence (1901-1958) and Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967). I found the book fascinating as it provided in-depth information about people and places I saw daily and knew only general information. I was most interested in learning about the early years of one of my former professors, which was mentioned in the book, Glenn T. Seaborg.
Hiltzik follows Lawrence’s career from a graduate student at Yale to winning the Nobel Prize in 1939 through his work in World War II on the Manhattan Project. Hiltzik builds a case showing how Lawrence’s works created the sprawling system of Government funded research laboratories we now know as the military industrial complex. In 1961 the chemical element Lawrencium was named in his honor.
The author goes into detail about how Lawrence conceived and built his first Cyclotron, or circular particle accelerator that used enormous magnets to hurl fragments of matter at one another at superfast speed. Hiltzik tells of his building the Lawrence Livermore Radiation Laboratory and his development of the hydrogen bomb. I knew about Lawrence’s work on the uranium-isotope separation for the Manhattan Project, but I was surprised to learn about his work on developing the radar tube and the Lawrence Tube used to create color television.
Hiltzik discusses how other fields became interest in Lawrence’s work such as the University’s Medical School for use to treat cancer. Hiltzik shows how the government’s canceling of the super conducting super collider in 1993 allowed Europe to take the lead in physics research.
The book is well written and meticulously researched. I found it an absolutely fascinating read. Bob Saouer did an excellent job narrating the book.