Saturday, January 27, 2007

Physics for Future Leaders

I have been listening to a podcast from UC Berkeley that is a recording of a physics class for non-science majors. The goal of this course is to cover the physics that future world leaders need to know.

One of the reasons I like the instructor is his view of physics in film. Some scientist see the errors in a movie, "That's not possible, it is against the laws of physics." On the other hand, Muller seeks to use physics to explain how that could possibly happen, he enjoys the movie :). A lot of people think Superman's X-ray vision is bogus because it is protrade like we see x-rays in a doctors office, but if Superman's eyes could eminate x-ray they he would truely be seeing a different specrum, something like when they x-ray you at the airport.

I've learned how heat pumps and refrigerators work. Why the Mini requires high octane gas. What makes a black hole black. The folly of developing a personal battery powered car given current technology. How airplanes fly (it is NOT from low pressure above the wing). Why the old VW bug got such great gas millage, can you explain air cooled?

The first 10 minutes of each podcast are full of wonderful and interesting things. Prof. Muller gets to class early to answer any questions posed by students. We learn a lot quickly and have our appetite whet for future lectures as well.

The first few lectures were very difficult to hear because of poor audio quality but they seem to be getting better. Maybe it is just me learning not to try to listen when driving over 45 MPH. He also spends several minutes a class attempting to debug an electronic quiz taking technology that I see is not being used this semester.

Prof. Richard Muller has written a book to go with the class; Physics for Future Presidents by Richard Muller.


jaya said...
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jaya said...

The textbook has been update and there are now a couple of sets of podcasts for this course. Look in the Table of contents on Dr. Muller's site.

Fall 2007 podcast