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Book How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life by Louis A. Bloomfield (1996-08-09)


How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life by Louis A. Bloomfield (1996-08-09)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life by Louis A. Bloomfield (1996-08-09).pdf | Language: UNKNOWN
    Louis A. Bloomfield(Author)

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Review Text

  • By Barbara A. Oakley on October 10, 2006

    I'm a professor of engineering, and decided to use this book as the primary textbook to give a basic idea, for humanities and liberal arts students, of what engineers do. What a great decision! The first part of the book sweeps neatly through basic physics, which is also, as it turns out, basic engineering. Statics, dynamics, friction, thermo--it's all there, neatly encapsulated in a way that humanities students can easily understand what's going on. The text then moves on to the types of things that really float my boat as an engineer--how refrigerators, car engines, and microwave ovens work. Even though I've been involved in engineering for years, and am a licensed professional engineer, I still learned interesting and helpful new ways of thinking about devices and how things work from this book. Moreover, I think this book helps give non-science and non-engineering students the kind of broad-ranging education they *should* be receiving in a university level. Engineering students, after all, have to study at least a modicum of subjects that relate to world history, English, psychology, and so forth. But humanities students can graduate from college without even having the faintest idea about the workings of the technology that can make their lives so healthy, pleasant and liveable. Call me biased or part of the great NASCAR unwashed, but I think it's just as important for a student to be aware of the essentials of how their refrigerator and car work as it is for them to understand the nuances of Shakespeare. Understanding of the fundamentals of technology also leads to students having a better understanding of the tradeoffs involved in good stewardship of the environment.Dr. Bloomfield has an extensive list of thoroughly researched demonstrations available through his website. I use some of these demonstrations almost every class day, and students really like them. (I couple the demonstrations with active learning exercises and cooperative learning activities, which helps keep them awake and motivated. I also combine use of Bloomfield's book with readings from Henry Petroski's "Success through Failure, and with short film clips from the National Association of Manufacturers.)In a study I am working on, I've found that universities that use this text as the backbone of physics courses for non-scientists and non-engineers generally seem to have huge enrollments. That speaks of the giant educational need this book seems to fill.

  • By Roger Sweeny on June 18, 2017

    Traditional physics books/courses operate like this: The first substantive chapter/unit introduces a few basic concepts. They are related to some real world examples and students then do word problems using these concepts. In the next chapter/unit, a few more concepts are introduced and related to the real world. Students do problems using those concepts. In the next chapter/unit, a few more concepts are introduced ... and so on until a fairly inclusive system is developed. The progression is logical but the whole exercise is somewhat abstract.Bloomfield does it differently. He starts with a real world happening and asks, “How can this be explained using physics?” This requires a lot more physics a lot earlier. In fact, the first two chapters (90 pages of 600) expose the student/reader to most of what is normally covered in the first semester of an introductory physics course--more in some ways, since Bloomfield gives a great deal of attention to rotational motion. Many people will find this more interesting but it risks overwhelming the student/reader, like learning to swim by jumping into the deep end rather than slowly proceeding: breathing, floating, kicking, stroking, now put it all together.There is also less math. Bloomfield seems to think that students learn better by working through why something is happening rather than working through word problems.I found Bloomfield’s way of developing things fascinating. But I’m a high school physics teacher who already had a fairly good understanding of the underlying principles. Your mileage may vary.

  • By Kind & Courteous on July 25, 2017

    Took a long time to get here plus the paper is super thin. Turn the page a little crooked or open it fast and you'd tear the page.

  • By R. Fryer on November 13, 2013

    The author has 'rock star' status among physics teachers. I was hoping to supplement my teaching with material from the book.After reading selected sections carefully, I think it will have a small impact on my lectures. I would be unable to use it as a textbook, however - too much of normal freshman physics syllabus is not even mentioned in the text. Probably a good text for 'Physics for Poets' or something like that.

  • By gigle on January 7, 2012

    I bought this book on Tuesday and got on Saturday. Shippment was soso. book condition is not bad. it is clean, and just cover is a little bit dusty.

  • By A customer on October 4, 1999

    The impact of this book is extraordinary. As you walk through your house, you realize how many appliances are now familiar to you, in terms of how they work. This book makes me think in awe of the scientists and inventors that come up with all of these common, yet complicated tools. I have used this as a resource, valued above the encyclopedia.

  • By A customer on August 13, 1999

    Mr. Bloomfield describes ordinary objects in a way that appeals to all. I never had an interest in knowing how things worked until I read this book and realized how interesting many appliances that I had taken for granted are. I found the book very informative and interesting. The pictures really help to make the book more successful in relaying the important information. This book is definitely worth the money!

  • By A customer on July 12, 2000

    You don't need to be a physicist to understand this book. Take me for example, I took a year of Physics in college and this is enough for me to grasp the concepts presented in this book. What's so wonderful about this book is that it goes beyond the mere equations and formulas we desparately memorized before a physics test, it shows that how physics can be incorporated into our lives and improving the quality of our lives. This is a great book for those preparing for the physics AP test and those who simply want to keep themselves amazed.

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