American engineer, author, and educator. A New York City native, Petroski received his bachelor's degree from Manhattan College and his doctorate in mechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently he teaches civil engineering and history at Duke University, specializing in failure analysis. Having a particular knack for explaining engineering to the nonspecialist, Petroski delights in revealing the technological complexity behind everyday objects like pencils and tooth-picks. He is a frequent contributor to the magazines
American Scientist and Prism; his dozen books include To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design (1985); The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance (1990); Invention by Design: How Engineers Get from Thought to Thing (1996); a memoir, Paperboy: Confessions of a Future Engineer (2002); and The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems (2010). His most recent book is The House with Sixteen Handmade Doors: A Tale of Architectural Choice and Craftsmanship (2014). See also cee.duke.edu/faculty/henry-petroski.