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Physics for Future Presidents : The Science Behind the Headlines
Learn the science behind the headlines--the tools of terrorists, the dangers of nuclear power, and the reality of global warming.
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 country in the 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. This book is written in everyday, nontechnical language on the science behind the concerns that our nation faces in the immediate future. Even active readers of serious journalism will be surprised by the lessons that the book contains. It is "must-have" information for all presidents--and citizens--of the twenty-first century.
What should the president do if a "dirty" radioactive bomb were exploded in an American city? Should he or she support the construction of pebble-bed nuclear reactors to provide safe, clean energy? In this presidential primer, MacArthur fellow and UC-Berkeley physicist Muller ranges from terrorism to space exploration to global warming, offering basic information and countering myths. He says, for instance, that dirty bombs aren't as dangerous as people fear; if the radiation is diffused over a large area, the risk of death or of cancer is extremely low. In a survey of energy sources, Muller argues that much-hyped hydrogen and solar energy have a long way to go, whereas nuclear power and coal don't deserve the bad rap they receive. Regarding space exploration, Muller joins the ranks of scientists who maintain that it is better done by robots than by humans. Nuclear technology receives considerable attention, though information is repeated from one chapter to another, but an extensive, balanced section on global warming should be required reading for all informed citizens as well as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain. 50 illus. (July)
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Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . Very interesting book, but bad translation
Posted August 30, 2009 by Peter Martin , Zurich, SwitzerlandI really thought that this was an interesting, well written book. However, I have a major complaint with the ebook translation. There were lots of pictures, charts, and tables referenced in the book. As far as I could tell, many of them were not included in the translation. It seems to me that if I buy the book in ebook format, I should be entitled to all the pictures and charts that are included in the hard version.
Other than that, I would recommend this book to those with some basic physics/math background and some scientific curiousity.
W. W. Norton & Company
August 15, 2008
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