As a student I learned of Bernoulli's theorem: when the velocity of a fluid increases the pressure decreases. I had already learned of the kinetic theory of gases: that the molecules of a gas move about randomly and when they collide with a surface they produce a pressure. It was obvious from this theory that, for example, as temperature increased, the velocity of the molecules increased and the pressure would increase. So, why was it that, under Bernoulli's theorem, pressure decreased as the velocity increased? I never received a satisfactory answer to this question and, there being a great many similar unanswered questions, we moved on. There was no doubt my first priority was to pass the course.(?) A few years later, as fate would have it, I obtained a job that took me to the vast isolation of northern Greenland (Thule). As winter approached and the days grew short my thoughts turned again to those unanswered questions. With all distractions removed, working in that unending polar night, I came to find the answers to many of these riddles. Even though they had seemed so impossibly difficult before, they generally turned out to be quite simple; yet, no one had seemed able to answer them during my years of formal education. I thought it might be worthwhile to write down what I had learned...for the benefit of others who might find these things puzzling. [From John Granville's notebook, Dec. 31, 1963, Boston] The Theory of Relativity in those days was taught pretty much as a mathematical theory (I suppose it still is), and on mastering the fundamental equations I had taken pride in my understanding of this advanced theory. Several years later, however, I discovered I had difficulty trying to explain this theory to a non-technically inclined friend (people who are not technically inclined tend to ask simple, but embarrassingly difficult, questions). Only after retreating, and spending a few --Author
THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW SMALL PRESS BOOKWATCH: May 2007 The Science Shelf Title: Discovery of Motion Author: John Granville 533 p., Hardcover Discovery of Motion: An Introduction to Natural Philosophy, Part I is an overview of the progress of science and human understanding that debunks the notion that the progress of science happened at a snail's pace. Rather, Discovery of Motion asserts, scientific understanding grew in great leaps - from Aristotle's to the radical transformations of Newton's laws, and a similarly overwhelming transition to Einstein's models. Written for readers of all ages and backgrounds, Discovery of Motion offers a fascinating glimpse of 'the big picture' of human understanding, with especial attention paid to the principles of empiricism versus idealism. Recommended especially for high school and public libraries for its reader-friendly style and presentation. A companion volume, 'Discovery of Matter' is forthcoming. --The Midwest Book Review
About the Author
John Granville retired (from the US Space Program) more than a decade ago so that he could complete this book which he has writing (as he relates in the Introduction) for more than forty years.