Physics for future Presidents



This is our 2019 textbook:

Physics and Technology for Future Presidents
An Introduction to the Essential Physics Every World Leader Needs to Know
Princeton University Press
ISBN 978-0-691-13504-5
2010 Edition
Richard Muller

Do not confuse this with the popular book, Physics for Future Presidents; The Science Behind the Headlines by the same author. Although the popular book is cheaper and covers some of the same issues as our textbook, it is a very different book and it will not work for our course.


Table of Contents


Physics Is the Liberal Arts of High-Tech; An Ideal Student; Physics for the Future Leader

CHAPTER 1: Energy and Power and the Physics of Explosions 1

Explosions and Energy; Power; Chapter Review 31

CHAPTER 2: Atoms and Heat 38

Quandaries; Atoms and Molecules and the Meaning of Heat; Temperature; Chapter Review

CHAPTER 3: Gravity, Force, and Space 72

Gravity Surprises, The Force of Gravity; Push Accelerates--Newton's Third Law; Orbiting the Earth, and Weightlessness; Escape to Infinity; Air Resistance and Fuel Efficiency; Momentum; Rockets; Airplanes, Helicopters, and Fans; Convection--Thunderstorms and Heaters; Angular Momentum and Torque; Chapter Review

CHAPTER 4: Nuclei and Radioactivity 108

Radioactivity; Fission; Fusion; Back to the Beginning; Chapter Review

CHAPTER 5: Chain Reactions, Nuclear Reactors, and Atomic Bombs 152

A Multitude of Chain Reactions; Nuclear Weapons Basics; Nuclear Reactors; Nuclear Waste; Chapter Review

CHAPTER 6: Electricity and Magnetism 201

Electricity Is... ; Magnetism Is... ; Electricity; Electric Power; Magnets; Electric and Magnetic Fields ; Electromagnets; Electric Motors; Electric Generators; Transformers; Magnetic Levitation; Rail Guns ; AC versus DC; Chapter Review

CHAPTER 7: Waves Including UFOs, Earthquakes, and Music 239

Two Strange but True Stories; Waves; Chapter Review

CHAPTER 8: Light 282

High-Tech Light; What Is Light?; Color; Images; Mirrors; Slow Light; Lenses; Eyes; Telescopes and Microscopes; Spreading Light-- Diffraction; Holograms; Polarization; Chapter Review

CHAPTER 9: Invisible Light 324

An Opening Anecdote: Watching Illegal Immigrants Cross the Border in Darkness; Infrared Radiation; UV--"Black Light"; The Ozone Layer; Electromagnetic Radiation--an Overview; Medical Imaging; Ultrasound--Sonar (Bats and Submarines); Chapter Review

CHAPTER 10: Climate Change 363

Global Warming; Solutions; Chapter Review

CHAPTER 11: Quantum Physics 404

Electron Waves; Laser--a Quantum Chain Reaction 409; The Photoelectric Effect; Quantum Physics of Gamma Rays and X-Rays; Semiconductor Transistors; Diode Transistors; Transistors; Superconductors; Electron Microscope; Deeper Aspects of Quantum Physics; Tunneling; Quantum Computers; Chapter Review

CHAPTER 12: Relativity 443

A Dialogue; Events--and the "Fourth Dimension"; Time Dilation; Lorentz Contraction; Relative Velocities; Energy and Mass; General Relativity-- a Theory of Gravity; Questions about Time; Chapter Review

CHAPTER 13: The Universe 467

Puzzles; The Solar System; Galaxies; Looking Back in Time; Expansion of the Universe; Dark Energy; The Beginning; Theory of Everything; Chapter Review

Richard Muller

Richard Muller teaches "Physics for future Presidents"