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Up the infinite corridor : MIT and the technical imagination

Author: Fred Hapgood
Publisher: Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., ©1993.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"In Up the Infinite Corridor, Fred Hapgood explores the mental landscape of engineering a style of thought, a mode of operation, a particular form of creativity that increasingly defines the trajectory of modern life." "With the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as his point of reference, Hapgood traces the emergence of the profession from its mud-on-the-boots days preoccupied with canals and roads to its
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Genre/Form: History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Hapgood, Fred.
Up the infinite corridor.
Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., ©1993
(OCoLC)645863643
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Fred Hapgood
ISBN: 0201082934 9780201082937
OCLC Number: 26504265
Notes: "A William Patrick book."
Description: xii, 203 pages ; 25 cm
Contents: 1. Solution Space --
2. The Infinite Corridor --
3. A Different Variety of Mind --
4. The Architecture of Solution Space --
5. Engineering Science --
6. The Tech Model Railroad Club --
7. The MIT Knee --
8. The Media Lab --
9. Nanotechnology --
10. Technical Sports --
11. The Vision Chip.
Responsibility: Fred Hapgood.

Abstract:

"In Up the Infinite Corridor, Fred Hapgood explores the mental landscape of engineering a style of thought, a mode of operation, a particular form of creativity that increasingly defines the trajectory of modern life." "With the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as his point of reference, Hapgood traces the emergence of the profession from its mud-on-the-boots days preoccupied with canals and roads to its present absorption with cyber-space and micromachines. He also shows the evolution in how engineers are trained, from the apprentice working alongside the older man, to "build and test," to the postwar emergence of engineering science and its focus on developing general principles about the natural behavior of artifacts." "But it is when Hapgood explores a selection of research projects currently going on at the Institute that he actually takes us inside the process, bringing to life the struggle to design an artificial human knee that in every way mimics nature, the creation of all automated navigational system for cars, the attempt to infuse a piece of silicon with the capacity for vision, the construction of a human-powered airplane, and the development of robot mice for maze racing in international competition. In so doing, Hapgood gives us a glimpse into an alternate universe he calls "solution space," the black box of possibilities which the engineer moves inside, searching along its various pathways, confronting key to true innovation."

"MIT is a rich culture that has always had its bizarre projects and its even more bizarre personalities, and Hapgood guides us through its history, the folkways and legends of undergraduate life, the twisted sense of humor emerging from the pressures and insecurities of a place in which everyone has the intellectual accelerator wired to the floor. The engineering sensibility that emerges is nothing like the dry "nuts and bolts" cliche. Rather it is an ethos based on reverence for "the fitness of things," the existential pleasure of connecting with the properties of nature. For as Hapgood points out, if scientists carry on a romance, engineers form a marriage and have progeny with nature, working within its confines day in and day out. The value system implied is one that sees our universe composed of elements whose behaviors matter to us intimately." "Hapgood's rich and insightful treatment shows engineering to be an enterprise surprisingly humane, even lyrical."--Jacket.

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