Download Back-of-the-Envelope Physics by Clifford Swartz PDF

By Clifford Swartz

ISBN-10: 0801872634

ISBN-13: 9780801872631

Physicists use "back-of-the-envelope" estimates to ascertain even if an concept might be correct. in lots of circumstances, the approximate resolution is all that's wanted. This compilation of one zero one examples of back-of-the-envelope calculations celebrates a quantitative method of fixing physics difficulties. Drawing on a life of physics learn and approximately 3 many years because the editor of The Physics instructor, Clifford Swartz offers basic, approximate strategies to physics difficulties that span a wide variety of themes. What word do you get in case you blow around the most sensible of a Coke bottle? may you drop a few pounds on a nutrition of ice cubes? How can a fakir lie on a mattress of nails with no getting damage? Does draining water within the northern hemisphere fairly swirl in a special path than its counterpart under the equator? In every one case, just a couple of strains of mathematics and some typical constants resolve an issue to inside a number of percentage. overlaying such topics as astronomy, magnetism, optics, sound, warmth, mechanics, waves, and electrical energy, the publication offers a wealthy resource of fabric for lecturers and an individual attracted to the physics of daily life.

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Example text

5)/360, or about 1,309,000 kilometers. FIGURE 1-23 How to An determine linear size from angular size. easy way to get at this same answer recognize that because the Sun and the same angular size, their true sizes direct proportion to their distances. We can now solve for L and find that 360 Thus, given a body's angular diameter and distance, we can calculate its true diameter. For example, suppose we apply this method to measure the Moon's is to have must be in The Sun is about (150,000,000/384,000) = 391 times further away.

As the Earth moves around the Sun, the Sun's glare blocks our view of the part of the celestial sphere that toward the Sun, making the stars that lie beyond the Sun invisible, For example, in early June, a line from the Earth to the Sun points toward the constellation Taurus, and so its stars are lost in the Sun's glare. After sunset, however, we can see the neighboring constellation, Gemini, just above the western horizon. By early August, the Earth has moved to a new position in its orbit. At that time of year, the Sun lies in the direction of Cancer, causing this constellation to disappear in the Sun's glare.

Month by month, the Sun covers one constellation after another. It is like sitting around a campfire and not being able to see the faces of the people on the far side, but if we get up and walk around the fire, we can see faces that were previously hidden. Similarly the Earth's motion lies as Figure 1-5 shows. hidden in the Sun's glare and makes a and 56 seconds earlier each night. Adding up that delay over a full year gives 24 hours. Thus a year later, when the Earth returns to the same spot in its orbit, the sky looks the same again.

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Back-of-the-Envelope Physics by Clifford Swartz


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