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Clouds in a Glass of Beer: Simple Experiments in Atmospheric Physics Paperback – July 10, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0486417387 ISBN-10: 0486417387 Edition: 6.10.2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 6.10.2001 edition (July 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486417387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486417387
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #652,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This fascinating exploration of atmospheric physics presents over 25 experiments that let readers observe and reproduce natural phenomena with simple materials at home or in the classroom. In a captivating, conversational tone, it explores topics in meteorological optics, including rainbows, coronas, color of sky and sea, visibility, cloud physics, and basic physics relevant to the atmosphere. A scientific or mathematical background is not required. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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If you do find enjoyment in reading about the atmosphere, however, you will enjoy this book.
Randall L.
The book is an amazing survey of simple experiments that can be done to understand the concepts relevant to the cloud physics and atmospheric phenomena.
Vivek Sharma
I highly recommend it to teachers - you'll learn some interesting stuff while getting your demo ideas.
cory m

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Peter J. Adams on October 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Craig Bohren is a first-rate atmospheric scientist with an unusual knack for being able to explain difficult concepts to general audiences. Sure, some of the explanations can get complicated so most readers will have to pause and think or reread sections occasionally to understand. However, Dr. Bohren uses figures and analogies rather than equations to explain physical processes. The book does not assume any particular scientific background and should be accessible to almost anyone willing to put in a little bit of mental effort. The book is less than 200 pages so the effort feels like a pleasant jog rather than a marathon. What's more, the author's fascination with the world around him and mostly interesting anecdotes inspire and entice the reader all the way. The author manages to do all this without dumbing down the science in any way. The subtitle suggests that the main purpose of the book is to provide educators with handy demonstrations of atmospheric physics. While the book certainly does this, it is not a recipe book in any sense. What one sees during the demonstrations is described well enough that the reader does not actually need to do them to follow what is going on. Moreover, the underlying science is well described and related to things most people see regularly in the sky around them. I have no plans to assemble these demonstrations but enjoyed the book immensely nonetheless. I am sure many others with an interest in the atmosphere will as well.

[The following autobiographical information is to help you evaluate this review. I hold a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, having done my thesis work on some issues regarding airborne particulate matter.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Wells Douglass on February 12, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a chummy kitchen science experiment book. The science is serious and some principles obtuse. I studied this sort of thing in college and found some of it tough going, though I do think I came away with a lucid understanding for the effort.
The author rambles a bit, mixing exposition and reminisces. This is not a terrible thing, but may not be what you expect. Some of the experiments are elegant and clever, and impressed my 6 year-old considerably. The author's bent is towards optical phenomena, such as why the sky is blue, more than the meteorological, though there's plenty in there.
A fun and interesting book in a conversational and sometimes amusing format. And yes, I finally can explain why the sky is blue.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By cory m on December 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a very well written, creative and informative work. It's a league well above the cliche "amazing science experiments" books and offers detailed insight into atmospheric phenomena. The style is prose, not the boring step by step method that turns off many readers. You can use it to perform experiments, but it's a good readin itself. I highly recommend it to teachers - you'll learn some interesting stuff while getting your demo ideas.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Randall L. on December 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Clouds in a Glass of Beer is not a book for everyone. If you do not have a vast understanding of atmospheric science and physics, you will not enjoy reading this book. In essence, this book is 22 different experiments with an explanation on how each experiment works. If you do find enjoyment in reading about the atmosphere, however, you will enjoy this book.

The first experiment is, as you probably guessed, why clouds form in a glass of beer when salt is added. The passage goes on to explain why and how the clouds form, why a cloud comes out of a freshly opened bottle of beer, and the behavior of the bubbles. It is interesting to see all of the scientific forces behind this action, even though it may become hard to understand at times.

The next experiment is how to make a cloud form in a bottle. This is done by filling the bottom with water and a tube, sucking a little bit of the air out through the tube, letting some smoke in, blowing air into the jar, putting your finger on the end and releasing it quickly. If the bottle is painted black, the cloud should be easier to see.

One experiment I found very entertaining was how to keep fog from forming on a mirror. It consisted of smearing an extremely small amount of dish washing detergent on the glass and trying to fog the mirror to proved that it worked. The soap forces all the fog droplets to create a thin layer of water.

Many of the experiments in this book are quite interesting. This book answers why a rainbow could form in the winter, the requirements for a blue moon, and why you can't see forever on a clear day. If you have a great understanding of science, this book will, without a doubt, amuse you.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nick on January 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
The book, Clouds in a Glass of Beer, Simple Experiments in Atmospheric Physics by Craig Bohren is a very in depth read for a very avid reader or scientist. This book is split up into twenty-two chapters about atmospheric science. A few examples about some of the chapters included in this book are; the explanation of the mystery of the elusive blue moon, why black clouds form, and the fantastic phenomenon that is the rainbow and many other different details. One of the chapters I really enjoyed reading about was chapter three, which talked about the mechanics and utilization of the sippy duck. Before reading this book, I had no understanding of these ducks and how they work. But now I know pretty much everything there is to know about them. In another chapter later on, Bohren conducts yet another experiment about the misinterpretation of the laws of pressure. What he does is place a can in a shallow pan of water, and then adds hot water inside the can. For this experiment to be successful, the can should cave inward and contract. The main reason why I enjoyed this chapter is because the experiment took no skill or much time at all, and it was an interesting way to explain atmospheric pressure. Other than the well planned put chapters in this book, there was one that went into way too much detail about explaining the greenhouse effect. I do agree that it was highly detailed fact wise but he just went a little much into detail. One segment of the book I really enjoyed was when he talked about the rare occurrences of either a blue moon, or the green flash. It really excited me to get up and actually try to see one of these one day. If you like rare occurrences, than you'll love this book. Overall, Bohren is a very in depth writer and people who enjoy physics will benefit from reading this book.
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