The Isaac Newton School of Driving: Physics and Your Car

The Isaac Newton School of Driving: Physics and Your Car

by Barry Parker

Hardcover(First Edition)

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For some people, driving is an art; for others, it's a science. At the Isaac Newton School of Driving, though, every car is a laboratory on wheels and every drive an exciting journey into the world of physics. As explained by renowned science writer and physics professor Barry Parker—whose father was a car mechanic and garage owner—almost every aspect of driving involves physics. A car's performance and handling relies on fundamental concepts such as force, momentum, and energy. Its ignition system depends on the principles of electricity and magnetism. Braking relies on friction—yet another basic scientific concept—and if the brakes fail, the resulting damage, too, can be predicted using physics.

Parker's first lesson describes the basic physics of driving: speed and acceleration; why you get thrown forward while braking or outward while turning; and why car advertisements boast about horsepower and torque. He goes on to discuss the thermodynamics of engines, and how they can be more fuel efficient; and what friction and traction are and how they keep a car's tires on the road, whether it's dry, wet, or icy. He also describes how simple laws of physics enable scientists to design aerodynamic cars and high-tech steering systems. Parker then explores the high-performance physics of auto racing, outlines how traffic accidents are reconstructed by police, uses chaos theory to explain why traffic jams happen, and describes what cars of the future might look like. Whether you drive a Pacer or a Porsche, The Isaac Newton School of Driving offers better—and better-informed—driving through physics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801874178
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 09/16/2003
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 763,899
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.94(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Barry Parker is a professor emeritus of physics at Idaho State University and the author of fifteen books, including Einstein's Dream, Relativity Made Relatively Easy, The Vindication of the Big Bang, and Cosmic Time Travel.

Table of Contents

Contents:Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 The Open Road: Basic Physics of Driving
Chapter 3 All Revved Up: The Internal Combustion Engine
Chapter 4 When Sparks Fly: The Electrical System
Chapter 5 "Give 'em a Brake": Slowing Down
Chapter 6 Springs and Gears: The Suspension System and the Transmission
Chapter 7 What a Drag: Aerodynamic Design
Chapter 8 A Crash Course: The Physics of Collisions
Chapter 9 Checkered Flags: The Physics of Auto Racing
Chapter 10 Rush Hour: Traffic and Chaos
Chapter 11 The Road Ahead: Cars of the Future
Chapter 12
Epilogue: The Final Flag

What People are Saying About This

Alain Haché

At last, a book about cars that goes beyond the usual basics and right into the heart of the matter. Barry Parker lucidly covers an impressive range of topics related to cars and driving, from engines and aerodynamics to traffic jams and futuristic trends. In it I learned more about my own vehicle than by reading the owner's manual! This book will surely find a wide audience.

Alain Haché, author of The Physics of Hockey

Alan C. Tribble

The Isaac Newton School of Driving has provided a wonderful overview of all the things that have to happen to get you there and back again safely. From the intricacies of the internal combustion engine to the dangers of head to head collisions, Barry Parker provides a great resource for automobile fans who want to understand science, and vice versa.

Alan C. Tribble, author of A Tribble's Guide to Space

Paul J. Nahin

Parker writes with authority and humor about the expensive machines none of us can survive without for long. For high-school students Ph.D.'s, and anyone who wants to know how cars really work, this is an excellent book.

Paul J. Nahin, author of Oliver Heaviside: The Life, Work, and Times of an Electrical Genius of the Victorian Age

Customer Reviews