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Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt: And Other Intriguing Stories of Mathematical Physics

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691135403
ISBN-10: 0691135401
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt is a great book for anyone interested in the connections between mathematics and physics. Along the way, Nahin, author of many popular math books, shares many historical anecdotes about the problems and the people who studied them. . . . A teacher of general physics or introductory calculus will find many interesting discussions that can be included in an introductory course."--Choice

"Overall, this book is a really fun read. The combination of mathematics applied to real physics problems and the historical fabric within which they are woven proved a winner for me. I could write more about this volume, but I think I'll quit here--I want to get to work on some of the challenge problems."--Barry R. Holstein, American Journal of Physics

"This book shows mathematics and physics at their very best, united to explore fascinating phenomena with astonishing results."--Linda Kallam, Mathematics Teacher

From the Back Cover


"If you like mathematics, you will love this book. If you like physics, you will love it even more. A treasure trove for students of any age, and a marvelous resource for teachers."--Kenneth W. Ford, author of The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone


"I greatly enjoyed this delightful book, which nicely mixes elegant mathematics, intriguing physics, interesting history and personalities, and useful numerical simulation. The book applies these in order to examine a wide range of fascinating and fun phenomena, from trajectory motion to electrical networks to random walks, in new and different ways."--Lawrence Weinstein, coauthor of Guesstimation: Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin


"This is an excellent piece of work, well up to Nahin's very high standards. It contains a wealth of interesting examples, simple but clever ideas, and surprising conclusions. The book demonstrates why basic calculus is fascinating, beautiful, and relevant to the world around us--and why it is infinitely more accurate and powerful than intuition when it comes to explaining nature. Another fine addition to the Nahin canon."--Desmond Higham, University of Strathclyde


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (September 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691135401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691135403
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,029,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Nahin was born in California, and did all his schooling there (Brea-Olinda High 1958, Stanford BS 1962, Caltech MS 1963, and - as a Howard Hughes Staff Doctoral Fellow - UC/Irvine PhD 1972, with all degrees in electrical engineering). He worked as a digital logic designer and radar systems engineer in the Southern California aerospace industry until 1971, when he started his academic career. He has taught at Harvey Mudd College, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the Universities of New Hampshire (where he is now emeritus professor of electrical engineering) and Virginia. In between and here-and-there he spent a post-doctoral year at the Naval Research Laboratory, and a summer and a year at the Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Defense Analyses as a weapon systems analyst, all in Washington, DC. He has published a couple dozen short science fiction stories in ANALOG, OMNI, and TWILIGHT ZONE magazines, and has written 16 books on mathematics and physics, published by IEEE Press, Springer, and the university presses of Johns Hopkins and Princeton. His most recent book, INSIDE INTERESTING INTEGRALS, discussing numerous techniques for doing definite integrals (up through and including contour integration in the complex plane) that commonly occur in physics, engineering, and mathematics, was published by Springer in September 2014. His next book, IN PRAISE OF SIMPLE PHYSICS, on the application in everyday life situations of elementary mathematics (up to and including freshman calculus) and the fundamental physical laws, is under contract with Princeton University Press, is currently at the copyeditor, and will appear May 2016. Another book, TIME MACHINE TALES, an up-dating of the 2nd edition of TIME MACHINES (1999), is under contract at Springer (in the Fiction & Science series) and will appear in 2017. He has given invited talks on mathematics at Bowdoin College, the Claremont Graduate School, the University of Tennessee, and Caltech, has appeared on National Public Radio's "Science Friday" show (discussing time travel) as well as on New Hampshire Public Radio's "The Front Porch" show (discussing imaginary numbers), and advised Boston's WGBH Public Television's "Nova" program on the script for their time travel episode. He gave the invited Sampson Lectures for 2011 in Mathematics at Bates College (Lewiston, Maine). When he isn't writing he is battling evil-doers on his PS4 and, now and then, he even wins ("Just Cause 3" is my current time-waster -- and I am having a LOT of trouble with that *%#*! wing suit!).

FINALLY - numerous readers have written over the years asking about the solutions manual to my Springer book, THE SCIENCE OF RADIO. Springer has kindly made it available in pdf format (3 MB), and if you write to me I'll send you a copy. paul.nahin@unh.edu

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have now read six of Paul Nahin's books and enjoyed them all. The one difference with this book is perhaps that it dosn't have a single underlying theme other then being a collection of very interesting problems in basic physics. They were all good but the first chapter hooked me: what is the position after five seconds of a particle with an applied force of kx**2? Sound trivial? It sure surprised me. In solving these problems he provides a perfect mix of math, physics, history, and anecdotes. As for prerequisites, a familiarity but not expertise with calculus and high school physics should be sufficient. By the way, another author very similar in style (except more towards theoretical than applied math) is John Derbyshire. Both gentlemen remind me of that one professor who could make any lecture so interesting that you were sad when the class ended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have, or a student has, any interest in mathematics in itself or related to other areas, read anything Paul Nahin writes. I have found each of his books full of wonderful surprises. He almost always fills in all the detail a reader needs but also makes you think about it [meaning and solution] instead of just laying out the final answers. He makes you think, not only about what the particular 'case' is but how similar problems can be attached and even how to "know what to do when you don't know what to do"---which is the best definition of genius that I've heard.

I think the only writer I can think of who has his skill, in the last 20 years, was Ian Stewart.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have purchased several books by the author but have
always purchased paper versions. I thought I'd try this one on Kindle 3.
Big mistake! The equations are blurry and petty much illegible.
The equations must be images and when enlarged become more unreadable!
I guess I'll go back to paper books for readability.
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Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt: And Other Intriguing Stories of Mathematical Physics
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