Geek Physics by Rhett Allain
Review by Lauren
Source: copy for review (Wiley/Turner Publishing); all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Have you ever wondered whether a human could really fly with wings
like a bird’s? What about how many zombies you could actually drive
through? Or whether airplanes could save fuel by using iPads instead of
paper safety manuals? How about whether Superman could really punch
someone into space?
In Geek Physics, Rhett Allain, a physics professor and Wired’s
popular Dot Physics blogger, finds intriguing questions buried in
familiar movies and TV shows, video games, viral videos, and news hooks
and walks readers through the fascinating answers from a physics
perspective, without all the complicated details. Geek Physics appeals not just to the geek oriented but also to anyone who loves pop culture and technology.
illustrations, basic equations, and easy-to-read graphs and diagrams,
each chapter not only covers the most popular subjects from Allain’s
blog, like lightsabers and McDonald’s drive-thrus, but uses those
questions from a less technical approach to teach basic physics
concepts. What better way to explain the nature of light than to
consider how Gollum could see in the dark?
Review: I was really excited that I received this book for review because I knew some of the information would be really fascinating. I’m not a science person; it was always a class that I struggled with. However, Allain does a pretty good job at breaking down the science so I understood most of what I read. There were some sections of the book that I wasn’t as interested in, like sports related questions, but I really liked most of it.
My favorite section was definitely chapter two as that related to all things superheroes. You have the question “Would the Hulk break up the road whenever he jumped?” and even the topic “The physics of Thor’s Hammer”. I won’t give anything away, because that would defeat the purpose of the book, but it’s interesting to see how real life physics can help answer some of these unrealistic questions, as we don’t really have superheroes!
This is definitely a good fit for those that like science, of course, but it’s also good for people that are interested in learning random facts, like technology, and enjoy various aspects of pop culture. Father’s Day has just passed, but I could see a lot of fathers enjoying this one!