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Don't Try This At Home!: The Physics of Hollywood Movies Paperback – September 4, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-1419594069 ISBN-10: 1419594060 Edition: Original

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing; Original edition (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419594060
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419594069
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,130,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Adam Weiner has been a teacher of physics and AP physics at the Bishop's School, a highly academic college preparatory school in La Jolla, CA for the last 11 years. Prior to that he worked as a physics instructor at Green River Community College in Auburn, WA in a department very active in physics education research. In addition to an M.S. in Geophysics from The University of Hawaii, Adam has an M.F.A. in acting from SUNY-Binghamton, and along with teaching physics, has done some professional acting, and stand up comedy. In his spare time Adam is a competitive long distance runner, surfer, and avid reader.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bucherwurm on June 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Now assume that all of the thermal energy generated remains in a rock, and the rock has a specific heat of 1000J/kg degrees centigrade. For me problems that start like this are no-brainers, meaning that I am missing a huge segment of my brain that can make sense of most physics problems. The topic of this book is demystifying and debunking physics in movies, but unless you are fairly well advanced in physics you won't get past the first few pages. I did take physics101 but that was way back in the last century. Formulas abound here as we tackle rotational kinetic energy, and high level static discharge.

This looks like an interesting book, but it is not for the mathematically challenged. Sorry. Now there is a book on the same subject that I can recommend that still has formulas, but that I found fun and intelligible for dummies. It's by Tom Rogers and it's called "Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics".

I really dithered over my rating for this book. Physics freaks may give it five stars, but what about people like me who don't know that all inertial frames are equivalent? Sigh. I gave it three stars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G. Poirier on January 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is essentially a basic physics text written in a fun way. The book's format is that physical principles are developed using plenty of formulas, as necessary. Then, these principles are applied by analyzing scenes from various movies, usually through worked-out examples.

On the positive side, the book covers just about all aspects of basic physics, i.e., mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics (relativity and quantum mechanics). The writing style is simple, friendly, often witty and quite engaging. The book provides the reader with the tools needed to understand how the world really works. The scientific analysis of movie scenes complements the theory very well and gives the reader a very good feel for what is possible, what is unlikely and what is scientifically ridiculous.

On the negative side, the book contains many errors: some are incorrect/misleading statements, e.g., p. 63: "Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen that consists of two protons fused together" (it actually consists of a proton and a neutron); some are various misprints and sloppiness in the examples; in some cases diagrams are mislabeled; in other cases, undefined terms are used in examples (but occasionally defined later). The many errors can be frustrating and annoying in the long run and could mislead some readers.

But despite these shortcomings, this book is so enjoyable, informative, witty, engaging and difficult to put down that the positives outweigh the negatives; I can't bring myself to give it anything less than four stars. This book will likely appeal the most to serious science buffs, as long as they are willing to tolerate the errors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Arno J. Sist on October 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
Wow, what a great book! It's like Ebert & Roper meets Einstein & Newton. Adam Weiner provides the perfect blend of Hollywood and no-kidding physics, and the result is a thoroughly entertaining and informative experience. Weiner de-constructs famous action scenes from movies like XXX, Speed, Spiderman, and 2001: a Space Odyssey with great wit and insight. Who would have thought that a book on physics could be a page-turner?! Bravo Mr. Weiner--hopefully this book will be a Blockbuster like so many of the movies you cover in your book. I can't wait for the next James Bond movie to come out--I'm gonna watch it with a bag of popcorn AND a calculator!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. F. Cullen on September 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
As someone who has seen the classes where the idea for this fantastic book was created...trust me when I say if you like physics, study physics, like Hollywood action films, etc....YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK! The author is dedicated to the subject matter and truly interested in making physics fun and accessible for students, teachers, and everyone!
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