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Energy in Nature and Society

General Energetics of Complex Systems

MIT Press

Energy in Nature and Society is a systematic and exhaustive analysis of
all the major energy sources, storages, flows, and conversions that have shaped the
evolution of the biosphere and civilization. Vaclav Smil uses fundamental unifying
metrics (most notably for power density and energy intensity) to provide an
integrated framework for analyzing all segments of energetics (the study 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 from hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies
through modern-day industrial civilization. Included are chapters on heterotrophic
conversions, traditional agriculture, preindustrial complexification, fossil fuels,
fossil-fueled civilization, the energetics of food, and the implications of
energetics for the environment. The book concludes with an examination of general
patterns, trends, and socioeconomic 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, Smil chooses to emphasize the
complexities and peculiarities of the real world, and the counterintuitive outcomes
of many of its processes, over abstract models. Energy in Nature and Society
provides a unique, 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 possible energy futures, and can serve as a text
for courses in energy studies, global ecology, earth systems science, biology, and
chemistry. Vaclav Smil is Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba and
the author of many books, including Energy at the Crossroads (2003), The Earth's
Biosphere: Evolution, Dynamics, and Change (2002), and Energies: An Illustrated
Guide to the Biosphere and Civilization (1998), all of which are published by The
MIT Press.
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Weitere Infos & Material

Smil, Vaclav
Vaclav Smil is the author of more than thirty books on energy, the environment,
food, and the history of technical advances, including Harvesting the
Biosphere: What We Have Taken from Nature, published by the MIT Press. He
is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. In 2010 he was
named by Foreign Policy as one of the Top 100 Global

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