Physics of Societal Issues: Calculations on National Security, Environment, and Energy / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $127.26
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 19%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (3) from $127.26   
  • New (2) from $127.26   
  • Used (1) from $189.58   


Why this book on the Physics of Societal Issues? The subdivisions of physics - nuclear physics, particle physics, condensed-matter physics, biophysics - have their textbooks, while the subdivision of physics and society lacks an equation-oriented text on the physics of arms, energy and the environment. Physics of Societal Issues is intended for undergraduate and doctoral students who may work on applied topics, or who simply want to know why things are the way they are. Decisions guiding policies on nuclear arms, energy and the environment often seem mysterious and contradictory. What is the science behind the deployment of MIRVed ICBMs, the quest for space-based beam weapons, the fear of powerline EM fields, the wholesale acceptance of SUVs, the issues of climactic change, and the failure of the pre-embargo market to produce buildings and appliances that now save over 50 power plants? Physics of Societal Issues is three "mini-texts" in one:

National Security (5 chapters): Weapons, offense, defense, verification, nuclear proliferation

Environment (4 chapters): Air/water, nuclear, climate change, EM fields/epidemiology

Energy (7 chapters): Current energy situation, buildings, solar buildings, renewables, enhanced end-use, transport, economics

"Straightforward calculations and supporting analysis can significantly shape public policy. This insight is needed in Congress and the Executive Branch. Hafemeister, a former Congressional fellow with wide Washington experience, has written a book for physicists, chemists and engineers who want to learn science and policy on weapons, energy, and the environment. Scientists who want to make a difference will want this book."

Richard Scribner, a Founder and first Director, Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow Program, AAAS

"Hafemeister shows how much one can understand about nuclear weapons and missile issues through simple back-of-the-envelope calculations. He also provides compact explanations of the partially successful attempts that have been made over the past 60 years to control these weapons of mass destruction. Hopefully, Physics of Societal Issues will help interest a new generation of physicists in continuing this work."

Frank von Hippel, Professor, Princeton University, former Assistant Director, National Security, White House, OSTP

"Energy policy must be quantitative. People who don't calculate economic trade-offs often champion simplistic hardware. ‘The solution is more .... nuclear power, or electric cars, or photovoltaics, etc.’ Some simple physics will show that the true solution matches supply and demand as an ‘integrated resource plan.’ Physics of Societal Issues is a good place to begin this journey."

Arthur Rosenfeld, California Energy Commissioner, Professor-emeritus, University of California-Berkeley

"Political analysis of public policies that ignores technical reality is about as useful as technical analysis that ignores political reality. In this book, David Hafemeister demonstrates a solid grasp of both the technical and political realities that have shaped US arms control and defense policy for the past five decades. This is a rare treat."

Dean Wilkening, Science Director, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Aus den Rezensionen:

"… Dieses 500-seitige Kompendium voller Gleichungen, Zahlen und Tabellen behandelt in drei getrennten Sektionen … Dem Autor gelingt es, zentrale gesellschaftliche Fragen mit der Anwendung physikalischer Formeln zu durchdringen. … Mathematisch vorausgesetzt werden solide Kenntnisse eines naturwissenschaftlichen Grundstudiums. … Das Werk sollte in keiner Bibliothek oder auf keiner Literaturliste von Seminaren fehlen, welche die genannten Problemfelder behandeln …" (Dr. Götz Neuneck, in: Physik Journal, 2008, Vol. 7, Issue 4, S. 50)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441930569
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 10/29/2010
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of hardcover 1st ed. 2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 487
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David Hafemeister is Professor (emeritus) of Physics at California Polytechnic State University. He has also had an impressive career in Washington as a Professional Staff Member:

Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Governmental Affairs (1990-93 on arms control treaties at the end of the Cold War)

Science Advisor to Senator John Glenn (19775-77)

Special Assistant to Under Secretary of State Benson and Deputy Under-Secretary Nye (1977-78)

Visiting Scientist in the State Department’s Office of Nuclear Proliferation Policy (1979)

Office of Strategic Nuclear Policy (1987)

Study Director at the National Academy of Sciences (2000-02)

He has edited nine books, published more than 140 articles and was awarded the APS Szilard award in 1996.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Part I: National Security - 1 - Nuclear Weapons / 2 - The Offense: Missiles and War Games / 3 - The Defense: ABM/SDI/BMD/NMD / 4 - Verification and Arms Control Treaties / 5 - Nuclear Proliferation Part II: Environment - 6 - Air and Water Pollution / 7 - Radioactive Pollution / 8 - Climate Change / 9 - EM-Fields and Epidemiology Part III: Energy 10 - The Energy Situation / 11 - Energy in Buildings / 12 - Solar Buildings / 13 - Renewable Energy / 14 - Enhanced-End-Use Efficiency / 15 - Transportation / 16 - Energy Economics Appendices: A. Nuclear Arms Chronology / B. Energy/Environment Chronology / C. Units / D. WWW Sites / E. Symbols / F. Glossary / G. Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)