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In honor of STEAM Week, I’ve put together a series of books on various topics of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Today, we’re focusing on the E: Engineering.

In fields like engineering, standards are created to make things easier. These guidelines help to organize how things should be done across companies and organizations to make things simpler for consumers. Engineering Rules is a fascinating history into how these standards were created, how they have been changed, and how they have been instrumental in making the global economy possible, while also working towards the potential for global prosperity and world peace.

Structural engineer Roma Agrawal addresses a topic very close to all of us, but something we rarely consider: the structural build of the cities we live in. In Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures, she explores everything from tunneling through mountains to building bridges that span huge bodies of water. How do you build a skyscraper without it collapsing on itself? How do you craft the Pantheon or the Eiffel Tower? More than just a science story, this book focuses on art, history, and the author’s personal experiences to bring together a tale that is uniquely fascinating.

In any of the scientific fields, but especially in Engineering, precision is key. The Perfectionists : How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World looks at this specifically. From the birth of the industrial age to modern technologies, Winchester looks at how our techniques and practices in the field of engineering have shaped the modern world, and explores the big questions: Why is precision so important? How do we measure it? And, Can the natural and the precise co-exist in the modern world?

How Things Work : The Mechanics Behind the World Around Us is a fascinating look at….well, at how things work. From transportation (planes, cars, bikes, and ships), to touch screens, smart clothing, email, meat packing, laser surgery, and space exploration, this book will give you a fascinating overview of the behind-the-scenes workings of everyday life. Perfect for the curious mind who wonders “What does engineering have to do with anything?” Now you know!

Atomic Adventures is a great introduction to anyone who is interested in the world of nuclear energy. Whether you’re staunchly opposed to it, or can’t wait to see what possibilities it holds as a energy resource, this book is well-worth a read. Mahaffey shares tales of nuclear energy forcing trees to bloom in the dead of winter, why we have nuclear submarines but not nuclear airplanes, and why “cold fusion” doesn’t exist. This twisting tale proves the old maxim, that truth is often stranger than fiction.


I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.