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)
The book refers to graphs and tables and pictures that would have been interesting to see and until the audio format technology allows for them to show on the devise you're listening on, I'd go for the actual printed book. That being said, the content is interesting and I learned a lot.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
“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.
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.
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 should be required reading, listening, for highschool kids!
Its very good and can be enjoyed by any level of education and political leaning.
It is good to listen to and will give some good background information. With the rapid progression of technology and evolution of world economics, I feel it needs some updating.
i really wish some of these books came with a PDF of the images and sources. Quotes weren't distinguished well, but all in all, some very complex topics were broken down into bipartisan solutions. Definitely a book I'll come back to.
Much of the information on global warming out of date.
Not crazy about the author inferring that he is just presenting facts while subtly injecting his viewpoint. Should just come out and say, "In my opinion...". Would be easier to respect his message, even if I disagree.
Dennis L. Gibson, Ph.D.., psychologist
This was a good review of basic science since I have not studied it for several decades. A good introduction to the political issues around energy. I keep asking myself what the latest year of information would give me compared to this one back in 2007.
This book explained current energy problems to me better than any resource I've looked into so far. I will say he references many diagrams that are missing from the audio version. If you still read and enjoy physical books that might be the way to go with this one for the visual aid.
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