- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (June 30, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471762733
- ISBN-13: 978-0471762737
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.9 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Flying Circus of Physics 2nd Edition
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This new version now contains answers to all the over 600 stimulating questions. Walker covers the entirety of naked-eye physics by exploring problems of the everyday world. He focuses on the flight of Frisbees, sounds of thunder, rainbows, sand dunes, soap bubbles, etc., and uses such familiar objects as rubber bands, eggs, tea pots, and Coke bottles. Many references to outside sources guide the way through the problems. Now the inclusion of answers provides immediate feedback, making this an extraordinary approach in applying all of physics to problems of the real world.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Later on you might make some interesting connections with an experiment your working on, or an observation of your experience and you'll find the most interesting ideas crystallizing out of the associations. "Google Patent Search" also helps.
Any book can only point towards new vistas of untapped experience. Experiment. If your brilliant, you can create it cheap.
The only weak I've found is that the book is lacking of enough illustrations and diagrams.
Thanks Professor Walker to help us understand the world around us.
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.