From the moment we wake up until we go to sleep at days end, we employ the most amazing science as we go about our everyday tasks, whether using a toaster to make breakfast, checking a smartphone for the day’s weather report or watching a flat-screen television. Yet most of us don’t understand the physics that makes our modern world so convenient.
From high-speed elevators to the complex inner workings of ultrasound imaging, and TSA screening devices, the technology we routinely use can seem mystifying. How do touch-screens work, and how do our wrist fitness monitors keep track of our steps? How do we glide through tolls using an E-Z Pass, or find our way to new places using GPS in our hybrid cars?
Coupling each cogent explanation with a story showing the astonishing physics at work, Kakalios explores the interplay of the invisible forces surrounding us. Through this “narrative physics,” Kakalios demonstrates that sophisticated science is quite practical. In crisp, lucid prose and with his signature cleverness, Kakalios illuminates the scientific principles we take for granted – and shows us how the ordinary is also quite exciting.
“From start to finish, this is a fun and comprehensive introduction to many of the forces that govern how we interact with each other and the world around us…Once again, Kakalios makes physics relatable, this time demonstrating how profoundly its principles enable our way of life.”
- Kirkus Reviews
“Sure to awaken in readers a new awareness of science operating beneath familiar surfaces, this analysis also opens a historical perspective on the inventions that have reshaped the world—once dependent on little-understood steam engines, now exploiting ingeniously engineered semiconductors. A fascinating inquiry exposing hidden science.”
“Jim Kakalios is recognized as the world’s expert on the physics of superheroes, but apparently his talents also extend to the real world. We shouldn’t be surprised: physics is at heart a search for basic underlying principles, whether in comic-book universes or our everyday lives. You won’t find a better, more enjoyable tour guide to how the laws of physics explain the world all around us.”
– Sean Carroll, physicist at Caltech and author of The Big Picture
“Think how much richer your life would be if you understood how the beloved devices that govern your daily life actually worked. You might be surprised to learn that even the most common ones–like your smartphone and GPS–depend on the wonders of modern physics, such as quantum mechanics and general relativity. A new world awaits you in this accessible and charming volume by James Kakalios, who takes you through an ordinary day that becomes extraordinary through his clear examples.”
– Lawrence M. Krauss, Director of the Origins Project and author of A Universe from Nothing