Vaclav Smil

Ecologist My interdisciplinary research encompasses a broad area of environmental, Energy, food, population, economic and public policy studies, ranging from quantifications and modeling of global biogeochemical cycles to long-range appraisals of energy and environmental options. I have been also applying these approaches to energy, food and environmental affairs of China.

I believe FRSC denotes him as a Fellow in the Royal Society Of Chemistry, not as a Rosicrucian.

David Nye on Smil's 20thCentury books. In Creating the Twentieth Century, Smil argues that the two generations before 1914 laid the foundations for an expansive civilization based on the synergy of fossil fuels, science and technical innovation. He rejects claims that the computer and the Internet have caused unprecedented economic acceleration and argues that the remarkable growth and social change of the 20th century were based primarily on refinement and development of machines and processes created before World War I... Taken together, the books are neither an ode to optimism nor a tale of Technological Determinism... Smil celebrates inventors, although he worries about the long-term results of adopting their creations. He writes about technology but pointedly eschews that word in favor of "technique." He writes about cultural transformation without an overarching theory beyond the conviction that technical change underlies (but does not determine) social change... Smil never mentions the American historian and man of letters HenryAdams (1838-1918), although he does draw on Adams's younger British contemporary, H G Wells. This is a pity, for Adams anticipated Smil's argument that science and technical development accelerated history and transformed society so decisively during the late 19th century that it constituted a fundamental break in human experience.

His Energies book (Energy) ISBN:026269235X is like a HyperText/Wiki-in-print. It's a series of smallish essays, ordered by a structured model, but heavily cross-referenced - each time a node-name appears in body text, it's in bold-italic. Unfortunately, since the nodes are arranged by his structure, instead of alphabetically, it's not a quick flip to follow a cross-reference. If I were designing the book, I might put little footnotes at the bottom of every page, listing the node-names mentioned above along with the appropriate page number. Online, you could add a GUI reference browser, like Touch Graph or Idea Graph.

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