Machines That Think! (Big Ideas That Changed the World #2)

by Don Brown (Author)

Machines That Think! (Big Ideas That Changed the World #2)

Award-winning author Don Brown explores computers and technology in book two of the Big Ideas series Machines That Think!

Explores machines from ancient history to today that perform a multitude of tasks, from making mind-numbing calculations to working on assembly lines. Included are fascinating looks at the world's earliest calculators, the birth of computer programming, and the arrival of smartphones.

Contributors discussed include Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, Ada Lovelace, and Bill Gates. From the abacus to artificial intelligence, machines through the ages have pushed the boundaries of human capability and creativity. Back matter includes a timeline, endnotes, a bibliography, an author's note, and an index.

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School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 3-7--Brown continues his "Big Ideas That Changed the World" series with a look at machines through the ages. Ancient mathematician Muhammad ibn-Mu̅sa̅ al-Khwa̅rizmi̅ offers readers a primer on technology, from the abacus to 16th-century thinker Blaise Pascal's Pascaline ("a shoebox-sized gadget that used gears, wheels, axles, and dials to add numbers") to Ada Lovelace's analytical machine to the early computers used by NASA, and, finally, to smartphones. As in Rocket to the Moon, Brown adeptly explains how scientists and thinkers stand on the shoulders of giants, each building upon earlier technology and advancing knowledge. The narrative is quick and engaging, accompanied by Brown's familiar watercolors. Expressive characters, visual humor, and details that will reward careful readers, along with asides from al-Khwa̅rizmi̅ ("Not bad for a self-taught engineer!"), infuse this informative work with wit and verve. Those left wanting more will appreciate the time line, notes about binary code, and the thorough bibliography. VERDICT Accessible, occasionally funny, and always thoughtful, this speedy but thorough trip through time is a must for budding scientists.--Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Terrific case study on the power of a big idea to work profound changes in our lives."— "Kirkus Reviews"
Don Brown
Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many nonfiction graphic novels and picture books. His many books, including The Great American Dust Bowl, 83 Days in Mariupol, and Fever Year: The Killer Flu of 1918, have been called "masterful" and "a must for youth graphic collections." Brown has received an Eisner nomination, two Sibert Honors, a Horn Book Best Book honor, a YALSA award, and multiple starred reviews, among other awards and notices. He lives in Hudson Valley, New York, with his family.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Harry N. Abrams
Publication date
April 20, 2020
Big Ideas That Changed the World
BISAC categories
JNF051190 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | History of Science
JNF061010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Technology | Inventions
JNF062020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | History
JNF062030 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | Science & Nature
JNF012000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Computers | General
Library of Congress categories
Artificial intelligence
Electronic computers
Autonomous robots
Little Maverick Reading List
Selection 2021

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