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Middle grade living books for physics

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My son is a strong reader and has enjoyed going beyond the textbook in biology and chemistry with living books. However, I want something like The Mystery of the Periodic Table for physics. I'm not looking for theoretical physics or astrophysics, just the basics. Nor do I want stand alone "science" books on the topics. I'd like something narrative. Here are our topics:


motion, forces and energy

thermal energy and heat








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There was an excellent book in our HI library called Surf Science: An Introduction to Waves for Surfing. I was impressed by the quantity of wave theory and force/momentum discussions that it had. My bff who was a surfer girl said it was a popular title among the hard core surfers she knew.


The older book All About Radio and Television has a surprisingly good section on wave propagation and atmospherics.


There was a cool new book in our library about the technical aspects of outfitting humans for space exploration. I will see if I can find the title when I'm there next time.

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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bryson is a good read or good audio. Be warned that those scientists often led, oh, colorful lives, shall we say? It's always in passing but there are a few few "he married a 14yr old girl" "He ran off with a young woman" "She had an adulterous affair" statements, if that sort of thing bothers you.

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What about the books that debunk the science or physics of popular science fiction shows or holidays? I'm thinking, for example of the Physics of Star Trek or the Physics of Christmas (how fast the sleigh would have to go and how much friction the atmosphere would be generating heat on the deer).


How Buildings Stand Up and Why Buildings Fall Down (by Salvadori) might be good options.


Ed Zaccaro has 10 Things All Future Mathematicians and Scientists Must Know (But Are Rarely Taught).


What about Carry On Mr Bowditch? I find that this is a great science/math biography.

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We're doing Physics next year. I was browsing at B&N last night and went to look for the Cartoon Guide to Physics. I've never gotten any of those cartoon guides because they didn't seem like they'd capture the attention of my older two, but my youngest is a whole different kid, and I thought cartoon might be the way to go.


I didn't end up getting the Cartoon Guide - because I found these I liked even better...


The Manga Guide to Physics




Relativity and Quantum Physics for Beginners


though after reading the Amazon reviews I think I'm going to return the latter and get some of the books from this series instead (I didn't see them at B&N) - they look approachable and fun for some of the higher level concept stuff (where I'm not really expecting them to "get" it yet but have an introduction that might spark more interest).


The Manga series gets great reviews and has a much cleaner layout than the Cartoon guides.


I also really really like Thinking Physics - mine's currently out on loan to a friend who's studying for her certification to teach high school Physics. She says she's loving it and finding it very helpful.

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Did you know that you can search books by subject/age on amazon? There are just so many titles that you can search until you find books that meet your child's reading level and interest very easily.


Here is a link to a search I did for children's physics for ages 9-12 and young adult. (to modify the search, look at the column on the left. You can eliminate the 9-12 or the young adult to narrow your search results)



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Thanks Sebastian! I'm going to look these up, they seem to be more "mechanics" and less astrophysics/theoretical physics. Thanks


What about something related to space exploration like October Sky (some s*xual content), or The Right Stuff?


Or the new book about the demotion of Pluto as a planet. Or the books by Dava Sobel about Longitude or the Planets.


My bil is an astrophysicist. He spends his time working with neutrinos. One of his projects was using non-visible radiation to locate distant stars. There is a fine line between astronomy and physics (if there is any line at all).

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There is a fine line between astronomy and physics (if there is any line at all).


I didn't realize that until this yr. Ds is taking astronomy this yr after alg based physics last yr. Oh my goodness, astronomy is a ton of physics. He LOVES it. I think he has learned an equal amt of applied physics via the astronomy course that he did in his physics course last yr. (different but the same, if that makes any sense.)

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