Energy in Nature and Society: General Energetics of Complex Systems

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Energy in Nature and Society is a systematic and exhaustive analysis of all the majorenergy sources, storages, flows, and conversions that have shaped the evolution of the biosphere andcivilization. Vaclav Smil uses fundamental unifying metrics (most notably for power density andenergy intensity) to provide an integrated framework for analyzing all segments of energetics (thestudy of energy flows and their transformations). The book explores not only planetary energetics(such as solar radiation and geomorphic processes) and bioenergetics (photosynthesis, for example)but also human energetics (such as metabolism and thermoregulation), tracing them fromhunter-gatherer and agricultural societies through modern-day industrial civilization. Included arechapters on heterotrophic conversions, traditional agriculture, preindustrial complexification,fossil fuels, fossil-fueled civilization, the energetics of food, and the implications of energeticsfor the environment. The book concludes with an examination of general patterns, trends, andsocioeconomic considerations of energy use today, looking at correlations between energy and value,energy and the economy, energy and quality of life, and energy futures. Throughout the book, Smilchooses to emphasize the complexities and peculiarities of the real world, and the counterintuitiveoutcomes of many of its processes, over abstract models. Energy in Nature and Society provides aunique, comprehensive, single-volume analysis and reference source on all important energy matters,from natural to industrial energy flows, from fuels to food, from the Earth's formation to possibleenergy futures, and can serve as a text for courses in energy studies, global ecology, earth systemsscience, biology, and chemistry. Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor at the University ofManitoba and the author of many books, including Energy at the Crossroads (2003), The Earth'sBiosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change (2002), and Energies: An Illustrated Guide to theBiosphere and Civilization (1998), all of which are published by The MIT Press.

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mainly about energy systems at a global level but interesting descriptions of complex adaptive systems

Contents

People as Simple
5
Efficiencies
16
Atmosphere
23
Fluxes
29
Mass Fluxes
36
Bioenergetics
89
Prime Movers
173
Charcoal Crop Residues
188
Fossil Fuel Industries
217
Turbines
228
Transmission
235
110
254
36
279
39
285
Energy Civilization
335
Energetic and Other
365

97
190
Heat Light and Prime Movers
203
102
216
Appendix
389
Name Index
461
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of forty books, including Energy and Civilization, published by the MIT Press. In 2010 he was named by Foreign Policy as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. In 2013 Bill Gates wrote on his website that "there is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil.

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