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Rising Force: The Magic of Magnetic Levitation Hardcover – June 29, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (June 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674055357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674055353
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,050,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This book is an extensive compendium of everything you might want to know about levitation of things both animate and inanimate. James Livingston is a master of this genre in that he presents quite difficult concepts with humor, history, and detail while always maintaining technical accuracy. (Fred Fickett, Chief, NIST Magnetic Technology Division (Ret.))

A well-written, factual account of magnetic levitation and accompanying lore over the ages, Rising Force is a welcome addition to Livingston's previous books on magnetics. (Ralph Hollis, Research Professor, The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University)

No, MIT professor Livingston writes, the magnetically levitated island in Gulliver's Travels (or its homage in Avatar) is not possible...But while Jonathan Swift's version of levitation is science fiction, it and other cultural examples dot this accessible illustration of the physics that allow for real-life wonders like maglev trains. (Discover 2011-05-01)

Further proof that physics can be fun...Think of Peter Pan, David Copperfield, and Harry Potter. Livingston, a physicist and lecturer at MIT who writes songs about physics, looks at the historical fascination with levitation, both real and fake, and explores the use of magnetic forces to overcome gravity and friction in flying frogs, implanted heart pumps, and high-speed trains. (Jan Gardner Boston Globe 2011-05-08)

Giving a new meaning to literary suspense, physicist James Livingston devotes his book to the science of magnetic levitation. From laboratory demonstrations of floating magnets, flying frogs and suspended sumo wrestlers to the realities of urban maglev trains, he uncovers humanity's fascination with the magic of defying gravity, as well as the physics of magnetic fields and superconductivity. (Nature 2011-05-05)

General science and technology buffs will find this accessible book fascinating and might be tempted to try a little levitation themselves. (Publishers Weekly 2011-08-12)

If you thought magnetic levitation was mostly about flying trains, then read Rising Force. Former physicist at GE and lecturer at MIT, James D. Livingston can barely conceal his excitement, and dry sense of humor, as he takes his readers on a whistle-stop tour of everything "maglev." (Rebecca Pool Engineering & Technology 2011-09-01)

I can easily recommend this title. It's a good insight into an aspect of much of modern technology, with enough surrounding material to keep it entertaining to read. (Matt Chorley Popular Science 2011-12-01)

About the Author

James D. Livingston is a former physicist at GE and lecturer at MIT, and the author of Driving Force: The Natural Magic of Magnets.

More About the Author

James D. Livingston's professional career was mostly in physics, first with GE and later with MIT, and most of his writings in the 20th century were in physics, including an undergraduate textbook and a popular-science book (Driving Force: The Natural Magic of Magnets). Moving into the 21st century, he gradually moved into retirement from physics research and teaching, and began to broaden his writing topics into history, a long-time interest of his.

Results in book form include A Very Dangerous Woman: Martha Wright and Woman's Rights (2004, co-authored with his wife Sherry Penney) and Arsenic and Clam Chowder: Murder in Gilded Age New York (2010). Both books focus on 19th-century female relatives of Jim's. Martha Wright is his great-great grandmother, a prominent activist in the woman's rights and abolition movements. The central character of Arsenic and Clam Chowder is Mary Alice Livingston, a black-sheep cousin who was accused of murdering her mother in 1895. Mary Alice is not nearly as admirable as Martha Wright, but she's also very interesting. Often black sheep can be more interesting than all those white ones.

Coming in 2011 is a return to popular science, Rising Force: The Magic of Magnetic Levitation (Harvard University Press). He expects it to be uplifting.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Guy Marsden on May 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really delightful book that covers every aspect of magnetic levitation -- and then some. It is written in a clear direct and engaging style with a number of charming personal references. It is clear that the author has decades of experience in the field and still delights in the Magic. If you want to gain a complete overview of anything and everything related to magnetic levitation this is a very pleasant book to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barbara D. on March 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was a bit nervous when first opening this book, fearing it might be too technical for me to understand. Yet I was intrigued: after all, who wouldn't be curious about levitating frogs, people and trains?

And Livingston has done it again, with another unusually interesting, in-depth book about a fascinating subject. His wealth of knowledge, brilliant sense of humor and vast research makes this a VERY interesting read - five stars!
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By Mo on January 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
In every section, just as you think you are about to actually learn some technical aspect of Magnetics, the author simply changes subject. Perhaps the author purposely does this to keep from scaring off the casual reader with hard science.

It could be useful as a review of the history of magnetics and to familiarize yourself with some of the ideas which govern many designs. But if you really want to know "why" and "how' something works, look elsewhere.

If you want to "learn" more, you might try this text book for $4: ISBN-10: 013185089X
It has many colorful examples and, if you care, the hard math.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book that I highly recommend. This book is the first factual compendium on scientific levitation achievement that I have had the pleasure of reading and am very proud to add it to my library. A must read for all experimenters out there. The author James D. Livingston, a physicists and lecturer at MIT, writes with a passion attributed to his lifelong interest in materials science, truly a scientific adventure.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great job of education using a combination of academic instruction mixed with interesting examples of real-world applications. Also provides history of the field and I appreciate the author's focus on levitation (staying true to the title!) amid many temptations to explore tangents in other interesting areas of magnetism.
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