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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kicked Off A Lifelong Interest in Science
A favorite uncle gave me this book when I was eleven or twelve, and I went on to love it literally to pieces. **But I still have all the pieces**, and I give copies of this book to kids who seem succeptible to it like I was.

Potential buyers should know that the book is arranged in an unusual format. One section, the questions, is divided topically into the...
Published on October 20, 2005 by Richard T. Young Jr.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Much Breadth, Not Clear Enough
When I purchased "The Flying Circus of Physics", I expected there to be roughly thirty very well-chosen example problems/experiments with deep and insightful explanations including clear diagrams elucidating the physics behind them. What I got was a hodgepodge of mostly random questions followed by essay-answers that usually lacked diagrams and didn't do a good...
Published 7 months ago by Opalt


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kicked Off A Lifelong Interest in Science, October 20, 2005
A favorite uncle gave me this book when I was eleven or twelve, and I went on to love it literally to pieces. **But I still have all the pieces**, and I give copies of this book to kids who seem succeptible to it like I was.

Potential buyers should know that the book is arranged in an unusual format. One section, the questions, is divided topically into the major subcategories of physics; questions are numbered by category and then sequentially, such as 5.8, 5.9, 5.10... The answers to the questions are found in a separate section, using the numbers. Because of this, you tend to read the book with a finger stuck in the answers so you can find your place when you go to check your work.

There is also a separate bibliography section, but I never paid much attention to that as a kid :^)
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking & Ultimate Lab Supplement, June 30, 2003
By A Customer
This is a book of real-world physics questions and explainations. Billiards, air-conditioning, carnival games, and more are covered.
Our high school advanced physics course used this book for a "special" kind of weekly lab where groups of students were assigned a few questions and the group was to write up short answers/explainations to the questions posed by Jearl, applying the concepts we learned in class and stretching our thought process.
Most questions have solid physics explainations, some don't. As such, scores were given based on insight, communication, and application.
The point of this book is to provoke thought and grab students' interest, and Jearl is a master.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and enlightening, October 22, 1999
By A Customer
You can learn a lot of physics from this book. It can help you develop the kind of intuition that you will not get from conventional physics books. In addition, you can learn some off-beat physics that is not normally taught in classes.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonder-full, September 12, 2006
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This review is from: The Flying Circus of Physics (Paperback)
This is my favorite book. This is a fantastic collection of hundreds of physics puzzlers, many taken from everyday life. It is full of thought-provoking questions about: superballs, silly putty, tops, and yo-yos; boiling water, dripping faucets, and blowing bubbles; rain, rainbows, snow, lightning, and tornados; bicycles, cars, boats, airplanes, and spaceships; magnets, electricity, radio, and television. It has answers in the back, but it is more fun if you try to figure it out for yourself, and resist looking up the answer. Some of these simple questions are so deep that scientists don't know the answers yet. Literally wonder-full.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book relates physics to life!, July 5, 2007
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This review is from: The Flying Circus of Physics (Paperback)
I am a retired science person who volunteers as an eighth grade science teacher. My primary notion is to convince the students that an understanding of the basic ideas of physics will enable you to comprehend more complex principals. To accomplish this, I am always searching for real life examples which demonstrate physics ideas. "The Flying Circus of Physics" provides a rich mix of these examples that makes the student see physics as part of their day-to-day life and not an abstraction.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars grat articles for thinking, January 18, 2008
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This review is from: The Flying Circus of Physics (Paperback)
Opens the mind to concepts of Physics. I'm a high school physics teacher and just wish I had more time with my classes to explore the ideas presented by Dr. Walker. His video series Kinetic Karnival is also great, but I haven't been able to find it available to replace my damaged copies.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, August 28, 2006
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This review is from: The Flying Circus of Physics (Paperback)
I chanced upon this book and now can't put it down. I never realized how little I know about how the world around me works. This asks questions about physics in everyday life, not esoteric particle-accelerator stuff. Absolutely fascinating and the best read I've had in a long time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great examples for 'lecture breaks', September 19, 2008
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This review is from: The Flying Circus of Physics (Paperback)
I teach elementary physics at a local university. One of the complaints of my students was I didn't relate the material to real-world examples.

The Flying Circus of Physics contains a huge number of examples relating basic physics principles to events/phenomena in the real-world. I usually use one or two of these examples per lecture as 'breaks' from the standard material. The students enjoy them and quickly become engaged in the discussion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Builds creativity, thought-provoking, January 3, 2009
I highly recommend this book to any serious physics student. Try to solve the problems on your own before browsing through the answers. This will cultivate your capacity for using physical modeling ideas you are learning from class to think about real world phenomena. That is, it breeds the kind of concrete, practical thinking which people like Richard Feynman mastered to superlative effect. Keep some problems in mind to think about it idle moments.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Much Breadth, Not Clear Enough, January 9, 2014
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This review is from: The Flying Circus of Physics (Paperback)
When I purchased "The Flying Circus of Physics", I expected there to be roughly thirty very well-chosen example problems/experiments with deep and insightful explanations including clear diagrams elucidating the physics behind them. What I got was a hodgepodge of mostly random questions followed by essay-answers that usually lacked diagrams and didn't do a good job of highlighting the underlying physics.

Although the book is ostensibly organized by subject matter (that is, chapters on motion, fluids, sound, thermal processes, electricity and magnetism, optics and vision), I felt that questions were disconnected from one another even within these categories and it read like a popular science magazine--a consortium of articles that provide a little insight into the underlying physics, but mostly leave you dizzy and confused.

An example of what I mean are questions 1.145 and 1.146. These questions are in the chapter on motion and come sequentially. The first is about why you cannot totally crumple a piece of paper and the second is about why shooting a glass beaker filled with water does not shatter the glass, but rather turns it into a powder. Although I'm sure if you tried hard enough you could draw a connection (as with anything in the world), these questions really have nothing to do with one another. More importantly, they aren't good problems for explaining important physics topics. They are neat phenomena that have something to do with physics and make you wonder a bit, but really don't get at the heart of important concepts. And just to really nail my point, the following question is about why pictures hanging with a short length of cord become crooked more easily than pictures hanging with a long length of cord. Again, a neat topic, but totally disjointed from the previous questions, thus making it hard for the reader to build their physical intuition.

So to recap my major qualms:
-Not nearly enough diagrams (and the diagrams are too small and often not great)
-Random arrangement of questions (and too many!)
-Answers often feel confused and not focused on developing physical intuition

In sum, I would not recommend this book. I would, however, recommend pouncing on Lewis Carroll Epstein's "Thinking Physics", which does a PHENOMENAL job of developing your physical intuition if you work through it properly. For what it's worth, I have a physics degree.
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The Flying Circus of Physics
The Flying Circus of Physics by Jearl Walker (Paperback - June 30, 2006)
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