Ships and Science: The Birth of Naval Architecture in the Scientific Revolution, 1600-1800

Ships and Science: The Birth of Naval Architecture in the Scientific Revolution, 1600-1800

Paperback Transformations: Studies in the History of Science and Technology (Paperback)

By (author) Larrie D. Ferreiro

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  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Format: Paperback | 472 pages
  • Dimensions: 175mm x 226mm x 23mm | 748g
  • Publication date: 31 March 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass.
  • ISBN 10: 026251415X
  • ISBN 13: 9780262514156
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 92 illus.
  • Sales rank: 373,549

Product description

"Naval architecture was born in the mountains of Peru, in the mind of a French astronomer named Pierre Bouguer who never built a ship in his life." So writes Larrie Ferreiro at the beginning of this pioneering work on the science of naval architecture. Bouguer's monumental book Trait du navire (Treatise of the Ship) founded a discipline that defined not the rules for building a ship but the theories and tools to predict a ship's characteristics and performance before it was built. In Ships and Science, Ferreiro argues that the birth of naval architecture formed an integral part of the Scientific Revolution. Using Bouguer's work as a cornerstone, Ferreiro traces the intriguing and often unexpected development of this new discipline and describes its practical application to ship design in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Drawing on previously untapped primary-source and archival information, he places the development of naval architecture in the contexts of science, navy, and society, across the major shipbuilding nations of Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and Italy.Ferreiro describes the formulation of the three major elements of ship theory (the science of explaining the physical behavior of a ship): maneuvering and sail theory, ship resistance and hydrodynamics, and stability theory. He considers the era's influential books on naval architecture and describes the professionalization of ship constructors that is the true legacy of this period. Finally, looking from the viewpoints of both the constructor and the naval administrator, he explains why the development of ship theory was encouraged, financed, and used in naval shipbuilding. A generous selection of rarely seen archival images accompanies the text.

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Author information

Larrie D. Ferreiro is a naval architect and historian. He trained and worked as a naval architect in the U.S., British, and French navies and the U.S. Coast Guard, and has served as technical expert for the International Maritime Organization. He has a Ph.D. in the History of Science and Technology from Imperial College, London.

Review quote

" Ships and Science is a meticulously researched, scholarly book...Any maritime historian or maritime architecture scholar should benefit from reading this erudite, thought-provoking book." -- Louis Arthur Norton, The Northern Mariner "This volume should be required reading for all students of naval architecture." Marine Technology "This is a superb volume, and is likely to be regarded in coming years as the starting point of the now fast growing study of the foundations of applied science and engineering." Fred M. Walker Mariner's Mirror "Highly recommended." Choice "This is a superb volume... to be regarded in coming years as [a] starting point for the study of applied science and engineering." Mariner's Mirror "This volume should be required reading for all students of naval architecture". Marine Technology