January 21, 2009

Physics for Presidents

Cal physics professor (and MacArthur Grant winner) Richard Muller has an assignment for Obama: read his book Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines, a nonpartisan tome outlining "five large topic areas which essentially define the hottest issues of today: terrorism, energy, nukes, space, and global warming." The book is based on a course that Muller has taught at UC Berkeley for years: "voted the best course on campus, Muller's class, "Physics for Future Presidents" uses no equations or detailed mathematical description. Instead it imparts a commonsense, but accurate, appreciation of certain technological hazards and opportunities."

Alternative energy, the difference between dirty and nuclear bombs, fission vs. fusion and climate change are all addressed as paramount to Obama's science mandate. Good stuff, even if one hopes that Obama's science team has all this pretty much covered...

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