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The Physics of the Buffyverse
     

The Physics of the Buffyverse

4.0 1
by Jennifer Ouellette
 

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Physics with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer pop-culture chaser

In the tradition of the bestselling The Physics of Star Trek, acclaimed science writer Jennifer Ouellette explains fundamental concepts in the physical sciences through examples culled from the hit TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel. The weird and

Overview

Physics with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer pop-culture chaser

In the tradition of the bestselling The Physics of Star Trek, acclaimed science writer Jennifer Ouellette explains fundamental concepts in the physical sciences through examples culled from the hit TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel. The weird and wonderful world of the Buffyverse—where the melding of magic and science is an everyday occurrence—provides a fantastical jumping-off point for looking at complex theories of biology, chemistry, and theoretical physics. From surreal vampires, demons, and interdimensional portals to energy conservation, black holes, and string theory, The Physics of the Buffyverse is serious (and palatable) science for the rest of us.

Editorial Reviews

TV's Buffy Summers ceased hunting vampires in 2003, but Sunnydale enthusiasts refuse to let her die. In fact, the library of Buffy the Vampire Slayer literature continues to grow. Among the more interesting entries is Jennifer Ouellette's The Physics of the Buffyverse, which uses Buffy and its spin-off, Angel, as the jumping-off points to engaging commentary on biology, chemistry, and theoretical physics, not to mention myth, magic, and history. Definitely not insane troll logic.
Publishers Weekly
There's science beneath the fantasy in the beloved television series about a teenage girl battling monsters in her California exurb, insists this lightweight pop-science primer. Science writer Ouellette (Black Bodies and Quantum Cats) hopscotches through the fictive world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel to rationalize their outlandish goings-on and mine heuristics that illustrate scientific principles. She compares exotic demons to real animals, draws lessons on Newtonian kinematics from Buffy's kickboxing, susses conservation laws in Buffy's economy of magic and compares Buffy's fight against evil to mankind's doomed struggle against entropy. Many Buffyverse plot devices (teleportation, time loops, alternate dimensions) lead Ouellette to advanced physics concepts (wormholes, relativity, quantum entanglement) that are equally weird and esoteric. Here, unfortunately, the author's sketchy disquisitions fall back on strained metaphors ("Just like the couplings... between the various characters in the Buffyverse, each iteration of string theory is connected to another through various dualities") and opaque analogies ("[i]t's best to think of imaginary time as a direction of time that runs at right angles to real time") that laymen will find as baffling as a runic scroll in a dead language. Too often, Ouellette's treatment comes across the way science does on Buffy-as a breezy, jargon-filled, unenlightening gloss on some fanciful spectacle. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Winnowing science from magic, history, mythology, and fiction, science writer Ouellette (Black Bodies and Quantum Cats) looks at physics through the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel TV series. Despite the focus on physics, Ouellette also deals with monster biology, robotic technology, the mathematics of entropy, and a variety of other issues. Her science writing is strong, and her discussions of history and folklore interesting; however, readers who are not fans of Buffy or Angel are likely to tire of the extended descriptions of series episodes. The complex scientific descriptions and serious tone will also turn off fans who would rather simply suspend disbelief and enjoy the show. That said, there are many dedicated fans-among whom books like Lawrence Krauss's The Physics of Star Trek would be popular-who might enjoy picking apart the scientific details of their favorite sf and fantasy shows. Ouellette's book should attract a similar following. An optional purchase for public and academic libraries.-Barbarly Korper McConnell, California State Univ. Lib., Fullerton Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101201329
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/26/2006
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Jennifer Ouellette writes the column “This Month in Physics History” for APS News, the monthly publication of the American Physical Society. Her articles have appeared in publications from Discover to Salon.

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Physics of the Buffyverse 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Ouellette analyzes the Buffy and Angel TV shows through the spectrum of science using several disciplines besides the obvious misleading title Physics to include zoology, and several branches of math (when did a curve become the shortest distance between two points?). Fans of the two related series will enjoy the deep insight into the biology of vampires, demons and other supernatural essences as much as the deep look into robotics. Also adding fun to the tale is the theory behind multidimensional portals such as wormholes and the energy displacement physics of a witch¿s spell. Obviously targeting fans of the Buffyverse, but within that circle to an even more limited cell of those who enjoy reading the complexities of how string theory applies to the multiverse of vampire slayers. In short this reviewer enjoyed the convergence of science and Buffy, but not as much as my husband who tries to keep current on the latest theories in science and math. --- Harriet Klausner