類別:人文科普/物理.
 (版權窗口 繁體: Yu-Shiuan  簡體: Yu-Shiuan  )
BRILLIANT: The Evolution of Artificial Light
大放光明─燈的進化史
作者:Jane Brox
版本: 精裝368頁  2010 年 7 月  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt出版
內容介紹

《大放光明--燈的進化史》在社會人文、歷史、科學各方面所傳遞的訊息與評論,讓人聯想起美國作家路易士.海德(Lewis Hyde)的著作The Gift(《禮物的美學》,商周出版),和普立茲獎得主作家Timothy Egan的著作The Worst Hard Time。本書提供全新的視野,從遠古時期的原始燈具到現代融入建築體的LED燈,檢視照明設備在人類歷史上扮演的重要角色。作者並因本書獲得古根漢獎學金(Guggenheim Fellowship)。

近幾世紀以來,簡陋的燈具和動物油脂做成的蠟燭,逐漸改變人們清醒的時間。作者Jane Brox探索因照明所導致的階級化現象,擁有者和缺乏者之間的差距、境遇涇渭分明。人們迫切需要照明時,濫殺鯨魚以獲取大量油脂製燈,將海洋環境逼向危急的臨界點。經過數十年後,隨著煤氣街燈的發明,開啟了熱鬧的夜生活,讓人們的生活、睡眠、作息全然改觀,也牽動了全世界的生態平衡。愛迪生發明了白熾電燈泡,造成人類劃時代的改變,但從作者所列舉各項實例,也顯示人類因照明設備付出了相當的代價。

《大放光明--燈的進化史》敘述照明設備的演進與其對於人類造成的巨大影響,也點出令人驚訝的事實真相。就在美國基於能源效率考量通過新能源法,規定目前普遍使用的大部分白熾燈泡即將自2012年起禁止販賣的時候,作者適時提出質疑--人類與地球的未來,又將會因為這個改變而成為何種景象呢?

 

☆本書2010年7月出版,有電子檔可提供審閱。

作者介紹

作者Jane Brox之前的著作包括Clearing Land、Five Thousand Days Like This One,Here and Nowhere Else,曾入圍The National Book Critics Circle Award決賽,和獲得 The L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award肯定。 作者因本書獲得古根漢獎學金(Guggenheim Fellowship)。Jane Brox目前居住在美國緬因州。

書評

“Just one of the many pleasures of Jane Brox's sweeping history of human light is its evocation of the wonder and fascination the lowly light bulb roused when it was new, before it became, by virtue of the reverse alchemy of mass production, abundant and déclassé. Brox succeeds brilliantly thanks to writing that rivals her subject in sparkle, glow, and wattage.”
– Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind

“I'll gladly read anything by Jane Brox on any subject, but her poetic and original retelling of the story of manmade light provides a suitably grand occasion for her superb powers of observation and her intimate, precise, startlingly evocative prose to shine.”
– Carlo Rotella, author of Cut Time

“Brilliant is fascinating in its subject matter, charming in its storytelling and accessible style, and meticulously researched. This kind of book helps place science in a human context.”
– Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dreams

“In gracious, elegant, unhurried prose, Jane Brox unspools the story of light. Every page contains at least one small marvel, but the greatest wonder is the realization that what she has illuminated is nothing less than a story of ourselves, and of the myriad ways our lives are 'interconnected, contingent, and intricate.' BRILLIANT, indeed.”
– Leah Hager Cohen , author of Train Go Sorry and House Lights

“A superb history of how the availability of ever more artificial light has changed our world over the centuries, from stone lamps in prehistoric caves to contemporary light-emitting diodes (LEDs). No simpleminded technological determinist, Brox (Here and Nowhere Else) appreciates how culture and technology have affected each other at every stage. She repeatedly reveals how humankind's increasing ability to extend the hours of light available for work and for leisure has been critical to the evolution of societies almost everywhere. Her readings of, for example, prehistoric southern French caves, medieval and early modern villages, whaling and other ships, industrializing cities, Chicago's White City of 1893, and wartime and peacetime blackouts are invariably fascinating and often original. In addition, she conveys technical information clearly and concisely. Brox's concluding portions, about the unexpected negative effects of too much artificial light on observatories in southern California and elsewhere, are provocative and dismaying. With Brox's beautiful prose, this book amply lives up to its title.”
– Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

“NBCC Award finalist Brox examines our relationship with light, our attempts to harness it to brighten places we cannot see, and its impact on American psychology and culture. Her book dovetails beautifully with the social history of technology, as our relationship with light has encompassed the development of candles, lamps, light bulbs, and even far-reaching sociotechnical systems. Brox seems at her best exploring electrification's impact on early 20th-century rural America.... Particularly engaging are her discussion of Franklin Roosevelt's establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority, its designers' hopes of engineering a better society, and the realities of its implementation.... This well-written, well-researched, and thought-provoking book has much to offer. The general reader with an interest in the (social) history of technology will find it both a source of inspiration for considering technology's impact on our lives and a springboard to more scholarly works such as David Nye's Electrifying America.”
– Library Journal