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Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines » (Reprint)

Book cover image of Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines by Richard A. Muller

Authors: Richard A. Muller
ISBN-13: 9780393337112, ISBN-10: 0393337111
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Date Published: September 2009
Edition: Reprint

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Author Biography: Richard A. Muller

Richard A. Muller is professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a past winner of the MacArthur Fellowship. His book Physics for Future Presidents is based on his renowned course for non-science students. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Book Synopsis

Learn the science behind the headlines—the tools of terrorists, the dangers of nuclear power, and the reality of global warming.

Publishers Weekly

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)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

I Terrorism

1 Nine-Eleven 19

2 Terrorist Nukes 32

3 The Next Terrorist Attack 45

4 Biological Terrorism 53

Terrorism: Presidential Summary 60

II Energy

5 Key Energy Surprises 65

6 Solar Power 77

7 The End of Oil 86

Energy: Presidential Summary 91

III Nukes

8 Radioactivity and Death 95

9 Radioactive Decay 111

10 Nuclear Weapons 123

11 Nuclear Madness 146

12 Nuclear Power 154

13 Nuclear Waste 171

14 Controlled Fusion 180

Nukes: Presidential Summary 188

IV Space

15 Space and Satellites 195

16 Gravity Applications 210

17 Humans in Space 222

18 Spying With Invisible Light 228

Space: Presidential Summary 244

V Global Warming

19 A Brief History of Climate 251

20 The Greenhouse Effect 261

21 A Very Likely Cause 273

22 Evidence 278

23 Nonsolutions 300

24 The Fruit on the Ground 314

25 New Technologies 328

Global Warming: Presidential Summary - The Buck Stops Here 344

Notes 347

Index 361




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