This book is an unconventional introduction to physics and science that starts with whole objects and looks inside them to see what makes them work. It's written for students who seek a connection between science and the world in which they live. How Things Work brings science to the reader rather than the reverse. Like the course in which it developed, this book has always been for nonscientists and is written with their interests in mind. Nonetheless, it has attracted students from the sciences, engineering, architecture, and other technical fields who wish to put scientific concepts into context.
This book is written in English and organized in a case-study fashion. It conveys an understanding and appreciation for physics by finding physics concepts and principles within the familiar objects of everyday experience. Because its structure is defined by real-life examples, this book necessarily discusses concepts as they're needed and then revisits them later on when they reappear in other objects.
Lou Bloomfield is a highly dedicated teacher and one of the most popular professors at University of Virginia, and was the recipient of the 1998 State of Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award. Lou has given talks all over the country on teaching physics through everyday objects. He has extreme attention to detail and knowledge of technical physics. He is very tech savvy and has been able to provide many of the photos and illustrations for the text himself.
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Uses a unique approach to convey an understanding and appreciation for the concepts and principles of physics and science by finding them within specific objects of everyday experience. Each of the 51 sections tells the story of its object with a minimum of distractions. Every physical notion is held in place by the objects that use it rather than the abstract structure of more traditional physics books. Contains many review questions, historical/biographical vignettes, case studies, exercises and simple experiments.From the Back Cover:
Though his moves appear magical, this skateboarder is performing his stunts entirely within the laws of physics. More importantly, he is making those laws real and relevant. This book is all about putting the laws of physics in context. By finding physics in the objects of everyday experience, How Things Work transforms the field from a remote and abstract academic discipline into the essential basis for understanding our world and everything in it.
Our skateboarder illustrates the same physics we'll explore in the first two chapters of this book. Like someone who is skating (Section 1.1), he spends much of his time coasting forward because of his own inertia. But his recent trip up a ramp (Section 1.3) has lifted him high above the ground so that he is subject only to his weight-the downward pull of gravity-and travels in the arc of a falling ball (Section 1.2).
Of course, since both he and the board rotate like seesaws (Section 2.1) as they fall, landing safely is more than half the challenge. His concentration is a sure sign that he intends to ride the skateboard back down the slope on its friction-reducing wheels (Section 2.2) in another second or two. However, if he makes a mistake and collides with something, as he would in a bumper car(Section 2.3), it's Reassuring to note that he's warning a helmet.
If this all sounds rather ordinary, it's because physics is ordinary. It's everywhere you look. But understanding physics well will require some guidance and thought, so it's time to venture inside this book.
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