This book describes the life and times of fifty-three great British scientists and engineers – male and female inventive geniuses who changed the world, improving the lives of mankind, and propelling humanity forward. Their stories abound with personal ingenuity, brilliance and scientific or engineering wizardry, and with the ambition to satisfy fundamental human needs.
The author aspires to set these individual achievements in the socio-political context of their place in history, sometimes embracing the activities of others to round off the story and scientific contribution. Avoiding overly technical language, he nonetheless succeeds in making complex theories and technologies more comprehensible and accessible to a lay audience. This book is a must for all those interested in the prehistory and history of the steam engine, transport, communication technology, public health services, and many topics from the natural sciences. Many of the inventions described in its pages have helped shape the modern world.