Jump to content


making physics - alluring?

Recommended Posts

Yes, this is named after the similar thread of making chemistry alluring.


I am looking for books to go alongside physics for high school. Many of the books in the chemistry thread have gotten my attention such as the Poisoner's Handbook and The Disappearing Spoon. I would love some similar suggestions in the realm of physics.


i "think" I know how to teach physics from a textbook. My boys will be ready for any of the math of physics. I have an idea of what I would like to do lab-wise. However, I would like to add some related literature that isn't too "heavy" to read.


What do you suggest?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

off the top of my head, stuff my kids liked at that age:


Thinking Physics by Lewis Carroll Epstein - He has a terrific knack for explaining tough concepts, but the style and font and drawings appeal to kids at the same time. It's organized by topic. For instance, the topic of mechanics is broken down into kinematics, Newton's laws, momentum, energy,etc. Within each topic, he introduces several short puzzles, asks the reader to think through a question, then explains what's going on & answers the question. For example, in the topic of thermal expansion, he asks what would happen if you heat a flat metal disc that has a hole cut out in the middle. Does the hole get bigger, smaller, stay the same? I LOVE this book & learn something new every time I read it.


The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence Krauss - I don't know whether you're Trekkies, but this was a fun book here, especially with dh and ds!


Walter Lewin's video lectures on MIT opencourseware (mechanics and electricity & magnetism).

He does tons of fascinating experiments in his lectures. Even if you fast-forward through the calculus-based coursework, you'll love his demonstrations of physics principles in action. I'm taking his current MITx class in electricity & magnetism this term, & part of our coursework is watching these. Totally fun & worth my time!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't yet have a pile for physics (did bio, now working on chem), but I was thinking this would go in it. Just needs a home, and space flight uses physics maybe?


Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void




The Way Kitchens Work: The Science Behind the Microwave, Teflon Pan, Garbage Disposal, and More


That book is by Sobey, who has other goodies. Then if you try this link


Why Is Milk White?: & 200 Other Curious Chemistry Questions


you get another dude Quellen Field with books. And of course just getting in that vein finds you more. The back of that Milk is White book preview has more books from that publisher. Just gives you a way to rabbit trail. Once you find one, you find more. Just depends on exactly what you want (history behind the science or applications of the science or what) and how readable you need it to be. Quellen Field is a little bit stiff. Roach is very readable but a little bit mature and willing to throw in things. The Milk is White book lists some cute books in the back like Stomp Rockets, etc. So there's that whole other angle to pursue of books about making things that use physics. One of the books had how to make your own flushable toilet and understand the physics of why it works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our pre-physics semester included:


Books by Gilmore:

The Wizard of Quarks

Alice in Quantumland

Scrooge's Cryptic Carol

Once Upon A Universe


Geoge Gamow's Mr Tompkins in Paperback


Muller's Instant Physicist (he also wrote Physics for Future Presidents)


Gribbin's Get A Grip on Physics


Wolke's What Einstein Told His Cook and others in the series


Introducing Newton


Feynman's autobiographies (read by mom, not yet by kid)


and we enjoyed/ are enjoying the following Great Courses:

Impossible: Physics Beyond the Edge

Particle Physics for Non Physicists (the former more than the latter)


Documentaries like The Elegant Universe and a few featuring Michio Kaku.


Apart from Kathy's great Thinking Physics suggestion, you can also look for Epstein's Relativity Visualized.


Larry Gonick has a Cartoon Guide to Physics book for light-hearted but junior high to high school level concepts. Didn't appeal to us for some reason but might be helpful to others.


ETA: I have How to Teach Physics to Your Dog by Orzel and keep meaning to read it. Begins in a very accessible manner but I'm not sure how deep it gets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thinking Physics as well as many of the other books look great. Amazon is going to like me buying all these books. :closedeyes:


Some of the books, I'll have to ask my boys if it sounds good - others I'll just buy and they'll read because they are in they can't ignore a good book. The Physics of Star Trek we just dug out and gave to the boys as they have been watching Star Trek recently. I'll have to take a look at the MIT lecture vidoes. Sounds like something I'd like as well.


Keep the ideas coming.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...