Simon Winchester

presents

The Perfectionists:
How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World

This event includes a book signing

Date

May
10
Thursday
May 10, 2018
6:30 PM
(Doors at 6:00)

Location

Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes acclaimed author and journalist SIMON WINCHESTER for a discussion of his latest book, The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World.

Please Note

Seating is limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis. Seating and elevator access to the Lecture Hall (located on level L2) will begin at 6pm. A 70-car underground parking garage with access from Broadway is available when the library is open.

About The Perfectionists

The revered New York Times bestselling author traces the development of technology from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age to explore the single component crucial to advancement—precision—in a superb history that is both an homage and a warning for our future.

The rise of manufacturing could not have happened without an attention to precision. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in eighteenth-century England, standards of measurement were established, giving way to the development of machine tools—machines that make machines. Eventually, the application of precision tools and methods resulted in the creation and mass production of items from guns and glass to mirrors, lenses, and cameras—and eventually gave way to further breakthroughs, including gene splicing, microchips, and the Hadron Collider.

Simon Winchester takes us back to origins of the Industrial Age, to England where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production: John Wilkinson, Henry Maudslay, Joseph Bramah, Jesse Ramsden, and Joseph Whitworth. It was Thomas Jefferson who later exported their discoveries to the fledgling United States, setting the nation on its course to become a manufacturing titan. Winchester moves forward through time, to today’s cutting-edge developments occurring around the world, from America to Western Europe to Asia.

As he introduces the minds and methods that have changed the modern world, Winchester explores fundamental questions. Why is precision important? What are the different tools we use to measure it? Who has invented and perfected it? Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art, and high culture? Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise and the natural co-exist in society?

Praise

“An enthusiastic popular-science tour of technological marvels . . . readers will love the ride.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Another gem from one of the world’s justly celebrated historians specializing in unusual and always fascinating subjects and people.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Winchester’s latest is a rollicking work of pop science that entertains and informs.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Simon Winchester
Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the MadmanThe Men Who United the States, The Map That Changed the World, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Krakatoa, all of which were New York Times best sellers and appeared on numerous best and notable lists. In 2006, Winchester was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen. He resides in western Massachusetts.

Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138

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