We live in complicated, dangerous times. They are also hyper-technical times. As citizens who will elect future presidents of the most powerful and influential world, we need to know - truly understand, not just rely on television's talking heads - if Iran's nascent nuclear capability is a genuine threat to the West, if biochemical weapons are likely to be developed by terrorists, if there are viable alternatives to fossil fuels that should be nurtured and supported by the government, if nuclear power should be encouraged, and if global warming is actually happening.
Written in everyday, nontechnical language, Physics for Future Presidents explains the science behind the concerns that our nation faces in the immediate future. Even active readers of serious journalism will be surprised at the lessons contained herein. It is must-have information for all presidents - and citizens - of the 21st century.
©2006 Richard A. Muller (P)2011 Tantor
"Should be required reading for all informed citizens, as well as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain." (Publishers Weekly)
This book should be required reading, listening, for highschool kids!
Its very good and can be enjoyed by any level of education and political leaning.
A very valuable compilation of important facts bearing on important issues which are presented in an accessible format. In my view, these are presented as objectively and non-ideologically as is reasonably possible and for that reason the book is likely to draw attacks from both the far left and the far right. This is especially likely to be true for the chapters on global warming. On the one hand, it debunks many of the distortions and hyperbole of the doomsday alarmists, especially Al Gore in 'An Inconvenient Truth.' On the other, it does accept the likelihood that global warming is occurring, is probably largely man-caused and should be addressed, but only in ways that make sense and not by following many of the programs of this administration and the green fanatics, like electric cars, ethanol subsidies and extensive investment in solar power.
Chet Yarbrough, an audio book addict, exercises two cocker spaniels twice a day with an Ipod in his pocket and earbuds in his ears. Hope these few reviews seduce the public into a similar obsession but walk safely and be aware of the unaware.
“Physics for Future Presidents” suggests that 21st century Presidents must understand some physics to be effective leaders. Richard Muller’s premise for understanding physics gives license to the author to explore everything from manned space flight, to satellite surveillance, to terrorist use of nuclear bombs.
Muller begins his book with the modern world’s effort to understand and contain terrorism. Muller explores the possibility of a terrorist organization building a nuclear bomb and detonating it in the middle of an American City. He looks at the possibility from three perspectives. One, difficulty in acquiring fissionable material; two, difficulty of building a nuclear device and three, difficulty in delivering a weapon of mass destruction to a desired location. Miller suggests a greater danger is terrorist attack by private planes, loaded with highly flammable fuel, e.g. 9/11. Or, for a terrorist organization to use chemical and biological agents that directly or indirectly infect population centers.
The physics that Muller insists Presidents must understand is that scientific proof is a matter of probability; not absolute certainty. Muller warns Presidents to not be misled by cherry-picking fact finders that have political objectives that are not grounded by the truth of science. One may conclude from Muller's book that even if there is no certainty in science, knowing probabilities offer a basis for informed decision.
You will need to view the charts but the book is very well presented in audio-format.
"Gusher of Lies" and "Power Hungry" - both by Bryce come to mind.
After digesting a lot of the material you’ll certainly be more informed on the complexity involved in this modern world. As the book says- we live in a very complex and dangerous world. The problems we face are significantly more technical and layered than most people would like to admit. This is a great overview of some very interesting aspects of physics. I listen to a lot of non-fiction and specifically a lot of books that deal with various science disciplines and I can say this is one of the more interesting.
Pay close attention to the nuclear sections. This portion of the book should be required reading for anyone who is really interested in energy policy and what the actual benefits and possible dangers are of this amazing energy source. It also puts into perspective the complexity of nuclear weapons. It will become immediately clear that it’s far from practical for anyone but a very motivated nation to construct this type of complex device.
Well worth the credit and the narrator is clear as a bell in 1.5 speed (my normal listening speed).
Ranking it relative to the other books I have listened to would be too difficult, as comparing this to philosophy books, investment books, fiction books, and social sciences would be a hard comparison. This is one of the better science books I have read or listened to...:)
It is broken down into various subjects/chapters... examining (from a scientific perspective) questions of energy, nuclear weapons, global climate change, etc... there was a lot here that I did not know, and it is interesting to step aside from the economic and political interests, and see some of these topics from just a scientific perspective.
Discussing the benefits and difficulties of 'alternate energy', ideas about conservation, and the actual effect if terrorists got a hold of a nuclear bomb.
This book tackles many important current science topics. The author does this in an independent and fair minded way. His explanations are clear and accurate, and the book was a pleasure to listen to. Even as a long time physics teacher, I learned a lot from it.
The commentary tends to the conservative side of politics, has if everybody has had enough of science profreessors messing around with politics.
Recommended by a science orientated
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