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How Everything Works: Making Physics Out of the Ordinary

How Everything Works: Making Physics Out of the Ordinary 

   

AUTHORS: 

  • Louis A. Bloomfield

PRODUCT DETAILS:

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (April 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047174817X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471748175
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds

 

EDITORIAL REVIEWS

Book Description

A user's manual for our everyday world!

"Whether a curious layperson, a trained physicist, or a beginning physics student, most everyone will find this book an interesting and enlightening read and will go away comforted in that the world is not so strange and inexplicable after all."
--From the Foreword by Carl Wieman, Nobel Laureate in Physics 2001, and CASE/Carnegie US University Professor of the Year 2004

If you didn't know better, you might think the world was filled with magic--from the household appliances that make our lives easier to the CDs and DVDs that fill our world with sounds and images. Even a simple light bulb can seem mysterious when you stop to think about it.

Now in How Everything Works, Louis Bloomfield explains the physics behind the ordinary objects and natural phenomena all around us, and unravels the mysteries of how things work. Inside, you'll find easy-to-understand answers to scores of fascinating questions, including:
* How do microwave ovens cook food, and why does metal sometimes cause sparks in a microwave?
* How does an iPod use numbers to represent music?
* How do CDs and DVDs use light to convey information, and why are they so colorful?
* How can a CT or MRI image show a cross-sectional view of a person without actually entering the body?
* Why do golf balls have dimples?
* How does a pitcher make a curveball curve and knuckleball jitter about in an erratic manner?
* Why is the sun red at sunrise and sunset?
* How does a fluorescent lamp produce visible light?

You don't need a science or engineering background to understand How Everything Works, all you need is an active curiosity about the extraordinary world all around you.

From the Inside Flap

Key in two minutes on your microwave, and your popcorn mysteriously cooks. Press a button on your iPod, and you suddenly hear music. Turn a dial on your air conditioner and your sweltering bedroom becomes habitable.

When you stop to think, the ordinary technologies and natural phenomena all around us can seem quite extraordinary. Today’s cars, computers, copy machines and other technologies may appear to operate according to some dark, unseen magic. But the truth is, fundamental physics principles can explain how every technology works––no matter how jaw dropping or complex.

Now with Louis Bloomfield’s How Everything Works, you can get inside the seemingly inexplicable gizmos and gadgets that are part of the fabric of your everyday life, and understand the physics that makes them work. An acknowledged expert on physics as it applies to everyday life, Bloomfield uses fascinating and fun examples, along with a unique ability to explain challenging concepts, to bring the subject of physics to life.

As How Everything Works examines everything from roller coasters to radio, and knuckleballs to nuclear weapons, it provides the answers to such questions as why the sky is blue, why metal is a problem in microwave ovens, and why some clothes require dry cleaning.

Filled with intriguing insights, How Everything Works is nothing short of a user’s manual for our everyday world. Even if you’re not the kind of person who typically likes to take things apart to see what makes them work, you soon will be. 

From the Back Cover

A user’s manual for our everyday world!

“Whether a curious layperson, a trained physicist, or a beginning physics student, most everyone will find this book an interesting and enlightening read and will go away comforted in that the world is not so strange and inexplicable after all.” ––From the Foreword by Carl Wieman, Nobel Laureate in Physics 2001, and CASE/Carnegie US University Professor of the Year 2004

If you didn’t know better, you might think the world was filled with magic––from the household appliances that make our lives easier to the CDs and DVDs that fill our world with sounds and images. Even a simple light bulb can seem mysterious when you stop to think about it.

Now in How Everything Works, Louis Bloomfield explains the physics behind the ordinary objects and natural phenomena all around us, and unravels the mysteries of how things work. Inside, you’ll find easy-to-understand answers to scores of fascinating questions, including:

  • How do microwave ovens cook food, and why does metal sometimes cause sparks in a microwave?
  • How does an iPod use numbers to represent music?
  • How do CDs and DVDs use light to convey information, and why are they so colorful?
  • How can a CT or MRI image show a cross-sectional view of a person without actually entering the body?
  • Why do golf balls have dimples?
  • How does a pitcher make a curveball curve and knuckleball jitter about in an erratic manner?
  • Why is the sun red at sunrise and sunset?
  • How does a fluorescent lamp produce visible light?

You don’t need a science or engineering background to understand How Everything Works, all you need is an active curiosity about the extraordinary world all around you.  

About the Author(s)

Louis A. Bloomfield is Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia. He also works extensively with professional societies and the media to explain physics to the general public.  Bloomfield received his Ph.D. from Stanford and was a postdoctoral fellow at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Widely recognized for his teaching of physics and science to non-science students at the University of Virginia, Bloomfield is the recipient of a 1998 State of Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award and the 2001 Pegram Medal of the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society. He is the author of almost 100 publications in the fields of atomic clusters, autoionizing states, high-resolution laser spectroscopy, nonlinear optics, computer science, and general science literacy, and of the successful introductory textbook How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life, 3rd Edition (Wiley 2006).  Bloomfield is the co-host of a new Discovery Channel television show called Some Assembly Required that will premiere in the fall of 2007. 

 

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

Best though-provoker since Brief History of Time, May 26, 2006

I've read a number of science books over the years, some under duress, and others for the pleasurable bending of the brain that it provokes. This book ranks right alongside Hawkings' Brief History of time in terms of perspective-altering clout. Bloomfield's style is clear and concise, never lost me in the mumbo-jumbo, and is radiating with his own voice, a voice that is clearly ecstatic over the physics of microwaving metals, the curveball, and every other type of everyday physics you can imagine. He even made P-N junctions hilarious, if you dont know what that is, just look for the section about theatre patrons being hurled around by gorillas...

For days after reading this book I found myself wondering about the physics of things going on around me, and often able to come up with some realistic, (at least to my mind!) explanations for them based on the principles in How Eevrything Works.

If I'm sounding a bit like a big cheerleader for this book, that's good, I would encourage anyone to pick it up and read it through, if for no other reason than a few trippy days afterwards, staring at elevators and water pipes in awe.


Rating: 3.0 | Added on: 15 May 2007

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