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What Einstein Told His Barber: More Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions Paperback – March 7, 2000
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"Wolke is a glib and entertaining writer....This is the book for anyone who claims to be overwhelmed by the science of everyday things....It's a fun read."
--The San Diego Tribune
"Fascinating....Will provide hours of fun and knowledge for kids of any age (and we mean up to 90) and offer helpful tips and satisfy the curiosity of the average householder."
--Baton Rouge Advocate
From the Inside Flap
Do you often find yourself pondering life's little conundrums? Have you ever wondered why the ocean is blue? Or why birds don't get electrocuted when perching on high-voltage power lines? Robert L. Wolke, professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and acclaimed author of What Einstein Didn't Know, understands the need to...well, understand. Now he provides more amusing explanations of such everyday phenomena as gravity (If you're in a falling elevator, will jumping at the last instant save your life?) and acoustics (Why does a whip make such a loud cracking noise?), along with amazing facts, belly-up-to-the-bar bets, and mind-blowing reality bites all with his trademark wit and wisdom.
If you shoot a bullet into the air, can it kill somebody when it comes down?
You can find out about all this and more in an astonishing compendium of the proverbial mind-boggling mysteries of the physical world we inhabit.
Arranged in a question-and-answer format and grouped by subject for browsing ease, WHAT EINSTEIN TOLD HIS BARBER is for anyone who ever pondered such things as why colors fade in sunlight, what happens to the rubber from worn-out tires, what makes red-hot objects glow red, and other scientific curiosities. Perfect for fans of Newton's Apple, Jeopardy!, and The Discovery Channel, WHAT EINSTEIN TOLD HIS BARBER also includes a glossary of important scientific buzz words and a comprehensive index. -->
More About the Author
Robert L. Wolke received his B.S. in Chemistry from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now Polytechnic Institute of N.Y.U.) and his Ph.D. in Nuclear Chemistry from Cornell University. He has taught chemistry(in Spanish)at the University of Puerto Rico and the Universidad de Oriente in Venezuela, and is now professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.
His books include Impact: Science on Society; Chemistry Explained; What Einstein Didn't Know; What Einstein Told His Barber; What Einstein Told His cook (nominated for both the James Beard Foundation's and the IACP's awards for best technical or reference book), and What Einstein Told His Cook 2 (also James Beard and IACP nominees). Further Adventures in Kitchen Science. His four "Einstein" books have been translated into more than 20 languages.
From1998 to 2007 he wrote a food science column (Food 101) for the Washington Post. His journalism awards include the James Beard Foundation's award for best newspaper column, the IACP's Bert Greene Award for best newspaper food writing, plus several awards from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. In 2005 he won the American Chemical Society's Grady-Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public.
His extracurricular activities have included stand-up comic monologues and consulting for UNESCO in Bangladesh.
He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Marlene Parrish, a food journalist, in Pittsburgh, PA.
Top Customer Reviews
by Robert L. Wolke
This book is imaginative and entertaining. It explains in simple terms the hows and whys
of many things we observe often but really don't understand.
His editor has done a fine job with spelling and punctuation, but he needs
someone to check his math:
p13 "In one experiment, out of 500 .30-caliber machine-gun bullets fired
straight upward, only four landed within 10 square feet
(3 square meters) of the gun".
While 10 feet is about 3 meters, 10 square feet is about 1 square meter and would
lie within 22 inches of the gun - not a very safe place to wait.
p26-27 "There is a certain speed called the ESCAPE VELOCITY, 25000 mph,
that an object must achieve to circle the Earth in stable orbit and
not fall down."
Actually the speed needed for circular orbit is less by a factor of
the square root of two, about 18000 mph. On p.121 the author has
astronauts orbiting at the proper speed.
Escape velocity launches an object into a parabolic trajectory which
Escapes (imagine that) the earths gravity and never returns.
p33 (and p.64) Speed of light 186,000 miles per second (3 million kilometers per second)
Oops! That should be 300,000 kilometers per second.
p81 Author computes 621 degrees Fahrenheit to be twice the absolute
temperature of 80F.
This should be 519.7F; but it is only because of sloppy conversion
from Fahrenheit to Celsius and back.
p103 (and p120) "Earth is sailing around the Sun at more than 10,000 mph
(10600 mph on p120)
It is actually about 66,675 mph - higher by a factor of 2 Pi (6.28...).Read more ›
Certain things I think can be explained a little better, like why the atmosphere is thinner at higher altitude. Or the difference between static friction and rolling friction. But these are just nicky-picky little things.
Overall, this book is a joy to read. If you are curious about how things in life work or scenarios that you take for granted(like why birds don't get electrocuted standing on wires), you should pick up this book. You'll undoubtebly learn a lot.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Book. Can't go wrong reading this material. All from a man who know his subject and his audience. ThanksPublished 4 months ago by Matt L.
This book is filled with interesting scientific facts that you may or may not have wondered about before. Read morePublished 7 months ago by CJG
If you have an inquiring mind, you need to read this book. That, of course, assumes you are interested in life around you! Read morePublished 11 months ago by LA