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

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Overview

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: http://press.princeton.edu/class_use/solutions.html

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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Editorial Reviews

Popular Science
[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
Choice
Muller does a very good job of comprehensively describing the physics base of the technological infrastructure of our social world.
New York Times - Henry Fountain
'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.
Popular Science - Brian Clegg
[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.
From the Publisher

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

New York Times
'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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691135045
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/23/2010
  • Pages: 532
  • Sales rank: 115,999
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

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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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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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2011

    Excellent book for students

    Oftentimes physics majors are too busy learning the math and semantics of physics to actually learn some of the more interesting physics and technology that happen in the world around us on a daily basis. Full of fun and interesting physics facts that often catch you by surprise!

    This book is designed for textbook use in college level courses. Not to be confused with "Physics for Future Presidents" - the popular book with a similar name, written by the same author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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