Construction Companies: Engineering Pioneer
In the mid-1700s, John Smeaton became the first person to call himself a civil engineer. Born in 1724 in Austhorpe, England, Smeaton took an early interest in science and engineering projects. By age 24, he started his own company and began designing mathematical instruments, including a mariner’s compass. After years of scientific experiments, Smeaton began designing bridges, canals, and harbours. His most famous civil engineering project was the Eddystone Lighthouse near Plymouth, England. He used innovative new techniques, such as interlocking masonry and fast-drying cement that would hold up underwater. His work provided inspiration for other civil engineering entrepreneurs.
Although science is the setting of each of these books, they are actually about the people who work hard to learn something in a new field and then start a company in that field. There are five main examples in each book along with several other cases either in the text or pictures with brief captions. The entrepreneurs chosen cover a wide variety of individuals and include some very well-known figures that readers will have heard of already. Other examples come from around the world in a wide variety of technology areas important to that locality. The applications in each book do pull together under the topic though there are some that are mentioned in more than one book.
The first section of each book is “You can be an Entrepreneur!” This includes a definition of a start-up and an entrepreneur along with some history or an inspiring story. This is followed by five main sections of four pages introducing an application of the type of technology and an example of a start-up company. The last section consists of two parts; the first is “Entrepreneurs Changing the World” (except for Space Entrepreneurs) and “Your Start-Up Story”. These are both inspirational with further brief examples, suggestions for studying science and math, both necessary to make inventions, and a challenge to try out.
Each book is a good mix of text in small neat sections, pictures to illustrate the concept(s) being presented and lots of pictures of the people involved in the area discussed with captions explaining why they are important or some background. The table of contents highlights the examples by giving them an orange background. Each book has a glossary, index and both books and websites where more information can be found. There is an approximately equal mix of the science and the people making progress with a focus on how any of us can accomplish firsts, find solutions and start a business to bring our invention to the public.
Engineering is used as a catch all term in Engineering Entrepreneurs as the topics are varied. Communication is used to introduce audio innovations especially by and for musicians with a great mix of history. Construction is used to look at breakthroughs in steel manufacturing. The next section is an amazing application of gray water recycling and capturing emissions of carbon to make plastic. The latter may cause readers to see plastic in a whole new way. The final two sections are both about robotics in various ways with applications in the home and in space with rovers. The ending section brings back the idea of robotics as a growing area for innovation and providing clean water with the challenge. This book is perhaps the most inspiring book in the entire series, inviting readers to reach for the sky both literally and figuratively.
This series is aimed at both technology and business students. For those interested in engineering, they can see that there are ways to apply this knowledge to start a company and get products out to the world. For those who want to go into business, the series suggests that ideas can come from many areas of technology and that entrepreneurs can find a niche where they can provide something that no one else has yet discovered. In both ways, these are inspirational books, encouraging a crossover between subjects that can only help the student and our society in finding ways to help people here and around the world.
The books in the series work well together and would make a wonderful addition to a school library. Even personal libraries would benefit from two or more books on the topics most in line with the interests of the child.
Willow Moonbeam is a cataloguing librarian with many hobbies who enjoys learning new things. Living in Toronto allows consumption of many and varied interests.