This set profiles inventors recognized for shaping modern technology and the way we live today. Essays highlight the individual's historical importance and focus on the subject's early life, most significant achievements, the individual's place in history, and how their inventions changed the way we live.
Great Lives from History: Inventors and Inventions features 409 essays covering 413 individual inventors (including 27 women) from all time, worldwide. All essays were written specifically for this new publication. The editors have included in this set those inventors recognized for shaping modern technology and the way we live today—coverage that is essential in any liberal arts curriculum. The editor's criteria for including these individuals in this publication took into account their fame as inventors, the significance of their inventions, the amount of time they spent inventing, their representation of world inventors, their relevance to class curricula, and their interest to high school, undergraduate, and general readers.
For purposes of this publication, the term "invention" was defined to include not only mechanical and other physical devices but also processes (e.g., the Bessemer process for making steel), software (such as Grace Hopper's invention of COBOL), and systems such as those applied to business management. Pure scientific theories (such as laws of physics) were excluded, although rare exceptions were made for such systems and tools that have had a comprehensive influence on our way of interacting with the world, such as Aristotle's invention of the first system of biological taxonomy, Newton's creation of the calculus, and Einstein's theories of relativity.
ORGANIZATION AND FORMAT
Each essay ranges from 2,000 to 2,500 words in length (3 to 4 pages) and displays standard ready-reference top matter offering easy access to biographical information including the individual's name, nationality, occupation, area of achievement, and dates of birth and death. Also included is a summary paragraph highlighting the individual's historical importance in relation to his or her inventions. The body of each essay is divided into three major sections:
"Early Life" provides facts about the individual's upbringing and the environment in which he or she was reared.
"Life's Work," the heart of the essay, consists of a straightforward, generally chronological account of the period during which the individual's most significant achievements were accomplished.
"Impact" provides an overview of the individual's place in history, particularly as his or her inventions changed the way we live.
The front matter includes:
- A Complete List of Contents
- Pronunciation Key
- "List of Inventions"
- Essay on Patent Law
- Chronological List of Entries
- Timeline of Inventions
- Biographical Directory of Inventors
- Category Index
- Geographical Index
- Inventions Index
- Subject Index