Book cover of Nuts and Bolts: Seven Small Inventions That Changed the World in a Big Way by Roma Agrawalby Roma Agrawal

A structural engineer examines the seven most basic building blocks of engineering that have shaped the modern world.

Some of humanity’s mightiest engineering achievements are small in scale—and, without them, the complex machinery on which our modern world runs would not exist. In Nuts and Bolts, structural engineer Roma Agrawal examines seven of these extraordinary elements: the nail, the wheel, the spring, the magnet, the lens, the string, and the pump.

Tracing the evolution from Egyptian nails to modern skyscrapers, and Neanderthal string to musical instruments, Agrawal shows us how even our most sophisticated items are built on the foundations of these ancient and fundamental breakthroughs. She explores an array of intricate technologies—dishwashers, spacesuits, microscopes, suspension bridges, breast pumps—making surprising connections, explaining how they work, and using her own hand-drawn illustrations to bring complex principles to life.

Interview with the Author

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Ep368 – Roma Agrawal | Nuts and Bolts: Small Inventions That Changed the World
8/1/23          41 min

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How Engineering Created Your World with Roma Agrawal
10/25/23          62 min

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536- Nuts and Bolts
5/9/23          38 min

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Roma Agrawal, “Nuts and Bolts: Seven Small Inventions That Changed the World (in a Big Way)” (Norton, 2023)
8/19/23            44 min

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