Physics and Technology for Future Presidents

Physics and Technology for Future Presidents : An Introduction to the Essential Physics Every World Leader Needs to Know

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Physics and Technology for Future Presidents contains the essential physics that students need in order to understand today's core science and technology issues, and to become the next generation of world leaders. From the physics of energy to climate change, and from spy technology to quantum computers, this is the only textbook to focus on the modern physics affecting the decisions of political leaders and CEOs and, consequently, the lives of every citizen. How practical are alternative energy sources? Can satellites really read license plates from space? What is the quantum physics behind iPods and supermarket scanners? And how much should we fear a terrorist nuke? This lively book empowers students possessing any level of scientific background with the tools they need to make informed decisions and to argue their views persuasively with anyone--expert or otherwise. Based on Richard Muller's renowned course at Berkeley, the book explores critical physics topics: energy and power, atoms and heat, gravity and space, nuclei and radioactivity, chain reactions and atomic bombs, electricity and magnetism, waves, light, invisible light, climate change, quantum physics, and relativity.
Muller engages readers through many intriguing examples, helpful facts to remember, a fun-to-read text, and an emphasis on real-world problems rather than mathematical computation. He includes chapter summaries, essay and discussion questions, Internet research topics, and handy tips for instructors to make the classroom experience more rewarding. Accessible and entertaining, Physics and Technology for Future Presidents gives students the scientific fluency they need to become well-rounded leaders in a world driven by science and technology. Professors: A supplementary Instructor's Manual is available for this book. It is restricted to teachers using the text in courses. For information on how to obtain a copy, refer to: Leading universities that have adopted this book include: * Harvard * Purdue * Rice University * University of Chicago * Sarah Lawrence College * Notre Dame * Wellesley * Wesleyan * University of Colorado * Northwestern * Washington University in St. Louis * University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign * Fordham * University of Miami * George Washington University
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Product details

  • Hardback | 536 pages
  • 178 x 254 x 40.64mm | 1,701g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 130 color illus. 15 tables.
  • 0691135045
  • 9780691135045
  • 376,952

Back cover copy

"Modern science and technology have the power to shape the world we live in, for good or for evil. Muller, himself a brilliant, creative scientist, has distilled the most important scientific principles that define our choices, and has presented them clearly and objectively. To make wise decisions, not only future presidents, but future business and community leaders, and thoughtful citizens generally, need the information in this book."--Frank Wilczek, Nobel Prize--winning physicist

"Richard Muller has written an amazing and very entertaining book, not only for future presidents but for just about everyone else. It's written in a nonmathematical style, but includes tidbits that will amaze even working physicists. This is a great book that should be read by everyone."--David Goodstein, California Institute of Technology

"Anyone who aspires to be president (of any enlightened organization)--or for that matter, anyone who would like to be led by an informed president--should read this book. Extraterrestrials would surely be amazed that the citizens of the most powerful country on earth routinely elect presidents who proudly profess to know nothing about science and technology. We can only dream that one day presidential debates will include a quiz based on this book."--A. Zee, author of Fearful Symmetry

"Clear, inviting, and humorous, this is the first nonquantitative book I've seen that covers all the topics of physics. The introduction of current social and political issues is excellent. Students will want to read this book from cover to cover. It could increase scientific literacy significantly."--Mark Oreglia, University of Chicago

"Physics and Technology for Future Presidents provides a new answer to an old problem: how to teach physics to nontechnical students. Richard Muller does not 'dumb down' the technical aspects of physics; he skips them altogether and focuses on physics results rather than methods. Fun to read and accessible to general readers, this book presents a lot of interesting physics facts."--Vadim Kaplunovsky, University of Texas, Austin
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Table of contents

Preface ix Physics Is the Liberal Arts of High- Tech ix An Ideal Student x Physics for the Future Leader xi CHAPTER 1: Energy and Power and the Physics of Explosions 1 Explosions and Energy 2 Power 19 CHAPTER Review 31 CHAPTER 2: Atoms and Heat 38 Quandaries 38 Atoms and Molecules and the Meaning of Heat 39 Temperature 43 Chapter Review 65 CHAPTER 3: Gravity, Force, and Space 72 Gravity Surprises 72 The Force of Gravity 73 Push Accelerates--Newton's Third Law 75 Orbiting the Earth, and Weightlessness 75 Escape to Infi nity 81 Air Resistance and Fuel Efficiency 83 Momentum 89 Rockets 92 Airplanes, Helicopters, and Fans 95 Convection--Thunderstorms and Heaters 98 Angular Momentum and Torque 99 Chapter Review 101 CHAPTER 4: Nuclei and Radioactivity 108 Radioactivity 108 Fission 138 Fusion 138 Back to the Beginning 143 Chapter Review 143 CHAPTER 5: Chain Reactions, Nuclear Reactors, and Atomic Bombs 152 A Multitude of Chain Reactions 152 Nuclear Weapons Basics 165 Nuclear Reactors 176 Nuclear Waste 182 Chapter Review 193 CHAPTER 6: Electricity and Magnetism 201 Electricity Is ... 201 Magnetism Is ... 201 Electricity 202 Electric Power 209 Magnets 212 Electric and Magnetic Fields 216 Electromagnets 217 Electric Motors 221 Electric Generators 221 Transformers 225 Magnetic Levitation 226 Rail Guns 227 AC versus DC 228 Chapter Review 231 CHAPTER 7: Waves Including UFOs, Earthquakes, and Music 239 Two Strange but True Stories 239 Waves 241 Chapter Review 272 CHAPTER 8: Light 282 High- Tech Light 282 What Is Light? 283 Color 286 Images 292 Mirrors 295 Slow Light 299 Lenses 305 Eyes 306 Telescopes and Microscopes 309 Spreading Light-- Diffraction 310 Holograms 311 Polarization 312 Chapter Review 316 CHAPTER 9: Invisible Light 324 An Opening Anecdote: Watching Illegal Immigrants Cross the Border in Darkness 324 Infrared Radiation 326 UV--"Black Light" 336 The Ozone Layer 338 Electromagnetic Radiation--an Overview 341 Medical Imaging 346 Ultrasound--Sonar (Bats and Submarines) 351 Chapter Review 353 CHAPTER 10: Climate Change 363 Global Warming 363 Solutions 390 Chapter Review 397 CHAPTER 11: Quantum Physics 404 Electron Waves 405 Laser--a Quantum Chain Reaction 409 The Photoelectric Effect 416 Quantum Physics of Gamma Rays and X-Rays 419 Semiconductor Transistors 420 Diode Transistors 421 Transistors 423 Superconductors 425 Electron Microscope 426 Deeper Aspects of Quantum Physics 427 Tunneling 433 Quantum Computers 435 Chapter Review 436 CHAPTER 12: Relativity 443 A Dialogue 443 Events--and the "Fourth Dimension" 444 Time Dilation 445 Lorentz Contraction 448 Relative Velocities 448 Energy and Mass 450 General Relativity-- a Theory of Gravity 458 Questions about Time 459 Chapter Review 460 CHAPTER 13: The Universe 467 Puzzles 467 The Solar System 467 Galaxies 469 Looking Back in Time 474 Expansion of the Universe 474 Dark Energy 476 The Beginning 476 Theory of Everything 481 Chapter Review 482 Epilogue (a poem) 489 Index 493
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Review quote

One of Choice's Compilation of Significant University Press Titles for Undergraduates for 2010-2011 "'Physics for Future Presidents' is a course, yes (with the professor's best seller, and soon its sequel, serving as textbook), but it is really more a tour de force. Richard A. Muller presents an astonishing amount of information on atoms, antimatter and other subjects. But since these are actual lectures, recorded in a hall on the Berkeley campus... It's all highly entertaining and educational, although it's hard to imagine being able to absorb it all. The course is geared for nonscientists, billed as being long on concepts and short on math, and covers topics like radioactivity, climate change and waves of all kinds. Yet it doesn't spare details."--Henry Fountain, New York Times "[I]t's a great textbook for a physics course for non-scientists, and there's plenty of stuff in there to interest scientists as well."--Brian Clegg, Popular Science "Muller does a very good job of comprehensively describing the physics base of the technological infrastructure of our social world."--Choice "[T]his handsome volume merits a very wide readership if we are to make the most of it and of everything else for that matter."--Arthur B. Shostak, European Legacy
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About Richard A. Muller

Richard A. Muller is professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a past winner of the MacArthur Fellowship. He is the author of "Nemesis" (Weidenfeld & Nicholson) and "Physics for Future Presidents" (Norton).
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Rating details

137 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 42% (57)
4 40% (55)
3 13% (18)
2 4% (5)
1 1% (2)
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