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The Flying Circus of Physics

The Flying Circus of Physics by Jearl Walker (1975, published by John Wiley and Sons, second edition in 2006), is a book that poses (and answers) about a thousand questions concerned with everyday physics. The emphasis is strongly on phenomena that might be encountered in one's daily life.

From the preface: "if you start thinking about physics when you are cooking, flying, or just lazing next to a stream, then I will feel the book was worthwhile".

Typically, the questions posed by the book are about phenomena that many readers will have encountered, but not thought through physically. For example:

"Why do many candles, especially small ones, flicker and pop in the last moments before burning out? What determines the frequency of flickering?" (3.110). Walker's answer involves qualitative arguments of capillarity, negative feedback, and latent heat of vaporization.


* Official website of the book

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