chapter  5
5 Pages

Pause for thought

ByPhilip Adey

Up to a point, progress can be made without much theoretical understanding. Victorian engineers, innocent of metallic crystal theory, were enormously successful at building bridges and ships (give or take a few Tay Bridge disasters). But the advent of weight-conscious aeroengineering outlawed overdesigning, and strong, light, and reliable materials and structures could be developed only by using theoretical models of the behaviour of particles in solids.