Synopses & Reviews
Physics professor, bestselling author, and dynamic storyteller James Kakalios reveals the mind-bending science behind the seemingly basic things that keep our daily lives running, from our smart phones and digital “clouds” to x-ray machines and hybrid vehicles.
Most of us are clueless when it comes to the physics that makes our modern world so convenient. What’s the simple science behind motion sensors, touch screens, and toasters? How do we glide through tolls using an E-Z Pass, or find our way to new places using GPS? In The Physics of Everyday Things, James Kakalios takes us on an amazing journey into the subatomic marvels that underlie so much of what we use and take for granted.
Breaking down the world of things into a single day, Kakalios engages our curiosity about how our refrigerators keep food cool, how a plane manages to remain airborne, and how our wrist fitness monitors keep track of our steps. Each explanation is coupled with a story revealing the interplay of the astonishing invisible forces that surround us. Through this "narrative physics," The Physics of Everyday Things demonstrates that — far from the abstractions conjured by terms like the Higgs Boson, black holes, and gravity waves — sophisticated science is also quite practical. With his signature clarity and inventiveness, Kakalios ignites our imaginations and enthralls us with the principles that make up our lives.
"Jim Kakalios is recognized as the world’s expert on the physics of superheroes, but apparently his talents also extend to the real world. We shouldn’t be surprised: physics is at heart a search for basic underlying principles, whether in comic-book universes or our everyday lives. You won’t find a better, more enjoyable tour guide to how the laws of physics explain the world all around us." Sean Carroll, physicist at Caltech and author of The Big Picture
"From start to finish, this is a fun and comprehensive introduction to many of the forces that govern how we interact with each other and the world around us…Once again, Kakalios makes physics relatable, this time demonstrating how profoundly its principles enable our way of life." Kirkus Reviews
"Readers will enjoy lucid explanations of dazzling yet quotidian technology, and those who remember a bit of high school–level science may appreciate them even more." Publishers Weekly
About the Author
James Kakalios is a professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota, where he has taught since 1988, and where his class "Everything I Needed to Know About Physics I Learned from Reading Comic Books" is a popular freshman seminar. He received his Ph.D. in 1985 from the University of Chicago, and has been reading comic books for much longer.