Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 2016. – 268 p. – ISBN: 0691166935Physics can explain many of the things that we commonly encounter. It can tell us why the night is dark, what causes the tides, and even how best to catch a baseball. With In Praise of Simple Physics, popular math and science writer Paul Nahin presents a plethora of situations that explore the science and math behind the wonders of everyday life. Roaming through a diverse range of puzzles, he illustrates how physics shows us ways to wring more energy from renewable sources, to measure the gravity in our car garages, to figure out which of three light switches in the basement controls the light bulb in the attic, and much, much more. How fast can you travel from London to Paris? How do scientists calculate the energy of an atomic bomb explosion? How do you kick a football so it stays in the air and goes a long way downfield? Nahin begins with simpler problems and progresses to more challenging questions, and his entertaining, accessible, and scientifically and mathematically informed explanations are all punctuated by his trademark humor. Readers are presumed to have some background in beginning differential and integral calculus. Whether you simply have a personal interest in physics' influence in the world or you're an engineering and science student who wants to gain more physics know-how, this book has an intriguing scenario for you. In Praise of Simple Physics proves that if we look carefully at the world around us, physics has answers for the most astonishing day-to-day occurrences. Contents How’s Your Math? The Traffic-Light Dilemma Energy from Moving Air Dragsters and Space Station Physics Merry-Go-Round Physics and the Tides Energy from Moving Water Vectors and Bad Hair Days An Illuminating Problem How to Measure Depth with a Stopwatch Doing the Preface Problems The Physics of Stacking Books Communication Satellite Physics Walking a Ladder Upright Why Is the Sky Dark at Night? How Some Things Float (or Don’t) A Reciprocating Problem How to Catch a Baseball (or Not) Tossing Balls and Shooting Bullets Uphill Rapid Travel in a Great Circle Transit Tube Hurtling Your Body through Space The Path of a Punt Easy Ways to Measure Gravity in Your Garage Epilogue
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