Advertisement

Prologue: Time Travel with Abel

  • Reiner KümmelEmail author
Chapter
Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)

Abstract

Traveling in time and space from the Big Bang to the Sun and through the ages of the Earth we note that energy conversion is the prime mover in the evolution of life and the universe. We are witness to two revolutionary changes in the development of civilization when humans enhanced their access to the energy sources produced by the Sun. First, they increased their use of living biomass by the invention of farming and cattle breeding in the Neolithic Revolution after the climate had warmed and stabilized. About 10, 000 years later, humans started to exploit fossil energies by with the invention of the steam engine during the Industrial Revolution. Even without heat engines, Europeans had already conquered the world with firearms and sailing ships, which utilized the chemical energy of gunpowder and the kinetic energy of the wind. European dominance was shattered by World Wars I and II, which could not have gone global without fossil-fuel-powered heat engines. Since then, heat engines and transistors have decisively assisted the increasing production of material wealth. The resulting resource depletion and environmental pollution must be mitigated by a careful observation of the natural laws governing energy and entropy.

Keywords

Blast Furnace Steam Turbine Industrial Revolution Heat Engine Vacuum Tube 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. 1.
    Sybesma, C.: Biophysics. Kluwer, Dordrecht (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gribbin, J.: The Strangest Star. Athlone Press, London (1980)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Diamond, J.: Guns, Germs, and Steel. W.W. Norton & Co., New York, London (2000). This great book provides inspiration far beyond that of the passages quoted.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sieferle, R. P.: Das vorindustrielle Solarenergiesystem. In: Brauch, H. G. (ed.) Energiepolitik, pp. 27–46. Springer, Berlin (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    National Gallery LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hall, D.O., Rosillo-Calle, F.: CO2 cycling by biomass: Global bioproductivity and problems of devegetation and afforestation. In: Lingeman, E.W.A. (ed.) Balances in the Atmosphere and the Energy Problem, pp.137–179. European Physical Society, Geneva (1990)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Statistical Abstracts of the United States, 1990Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hewett, C.E., High, C.J., Marshall, N., Wildermuth, R.: Wood energy in the United States. In: Hollander, J.M., Simmons, M.K., Wood, D. E. (eds.) Annual Review of Energy 6, pp. 139–170. Annual Reviews, Palo Alto (1981)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    McMullan, J. T., Morgan, R., Murray, R. B.: Energy Resources, 2nd Ed., Arnold, London (1983)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gurland, A.R. L.: Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft im Übergang zum Zeitalter der Industrie. In: Mann, G. (ed.) Propyläen Weltgeschichte 8, pp. 280–336. Propyläen Verlag, Berlin (1991)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hoddeson, L., Daitch, V.: True Genius. The Life and Science of John Bardeen. Joseph Henry Press, Washington (2002). This excellent biography tells the details of how the transistor was invented and gives a fascinating insight into the life and science of the only winner of two Nobel prizes in physics.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bardeen, J.: private communication, 1972Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Strahan, D.: The Last Oil Shock. John Murray, London (2007)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    O’Neill, G. K.: The High Frontier. William Morrow & Co, New York (1977)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Theoretical Physics and AstrophysicsUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany

Personalised recommendations