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In Praise of Simple Physics


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Table of Contents

Foreword by T. M. Helliwell ix Preface with Challenge Problems xi 1 How's Your Math? 1 2 The Traffic-Light Dilemma 20 3 Energy from Moving Air 25 4 Dragsters and Space Station Physics 32 5 Merry-Go-Round Physics and the Tides 42 6 Energy from Moving Water 51 7 Vectors and Bad Hair Days 63 8 An Illuminating Problem 67 9 How to Measure Depth with a Stopwatch 74 10 Doing the Preface Problems 79 11 The Physics of Stacking Books 92 12 Communication Satellite Physics 103 13 Walking a Ladder Upright 110 14 Why Is the Sky Dark at Night? 115 15 How Some Things Float (or Don't) 126 16 A Reciprocating Problem 141 17 How to Catch a Baseball (or Not) 146 18 Tossing Balls and Shooting Bullets Uphill 153 19 Rapid Travel in a Great Circle Transit Tube 163 20 Hurtling Your Body through Space 177 21 The Path of a Punt 194 22 Easy Ways to Measure Gravity in Your Garage 200 23 Epilogue Newton's Gravity Calculation Mistake 218 Postscript 227 Acknowledgments

About the Author

Paul J. Nahin is professor emeritus of electrical engineering at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of many best-selling popular math books, including Digital Dice, Chases and Escapes, Dr. Euler's Fabulous Formula, When Least Is Best, Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers, and An Imaginary Tale (all Princeton).


"Nahin's writing style, as in previous books, is clear, conversational, humorous and chatty... [A]nd the discussions in the book are careful and appropriately rigorous."--MAA Reviews "Fun, accessible physics/math problems along with some humor."--Antonio Cangiano, Math-Blog "[Nahin] knows how to catch the attention of his reader. You will not regret buying any of his books, and I am sure after reading it, you will pick up this one to check again on one of his models and his solution methods."--European Mathematical Society "A superb book... [D]emonstrates clever ways to solve simply physics problems."--Choice

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