The Flying Circus of Physics, 2nd Edition
June 2006, ©2007
In 1977, Wiley published the first edition of Jearl Walker’s The Flying Circus of Physics, which has sold over 100,000 copies and become a cult classic in the physics community. The Flying Circus is a compendium of interesting real world phenomena that can be explained using basic laws of physics. This new edition represents a thorough updating and modernization of the book. The new edition gives us the opportunity to highlight Jearl’s creativity, his communication skills, and his ability to make physics interesting.
Jearl Walker, Ph.D., professor of physics at Cleveland State University and the man who frequently walked on hot coals and lay on beds of nails all in the name of science, is the first recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award from Cleveland State's College of Science. The College's Faculty Affairs Committee selected Dr. Walker as the first honoree based on his impressive contributions to science teaching over the last 30 years. In fact, the award in future years will be named the Jearl Walker Outstanding Teaching Award in recognition of his many achievements.
Jearl Walker received his B.S. in physics from MIT in 1967 and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland in 1973. His popular book, The Flying Circus of Physics, has been translated into at least 10 languages and is still being sold worldwide. For 16 years he toured his fun-filled Flying Circus lecture throughout the U.S. and Canada, introducing countless teachers to such physics phenomena as molecular adhesion by hanging spoons from his face and Leidenfrost's phenomenon by dipping his wet hand in molten lead without getting hurt.
These lectures led to his national PBS television show, Kinetic Karnival, which ran for several years and won him a local Emmy Award. During his 13 years as a columnist with Scientific American magazine, Dr. Walker wrote 152 articles for "The Amateur Scientist" section, which were translated into at least 9 languages worldwide. His topics ranged from the physics of judo to the physics of bearnaise sauce and lemon meringue pie. In 1990, he took over the textbook Fundamentals of Physics from David Halliday and Robert Resnick and has now published the seventh edition of the book. He has appeared countless times on television and radio and in newspapers and magazines.
Chapter 1. Slipping Between Falling Drops. (Motion).
Chapter 2. Racing on the Ceiling, Swimming Through Syrup. (Fluids).
Chapter.3. Hiding Under the Covers, Listening or the Monsters. (Sound).
Chapter 4. Striking at the Heat in the Night. (Thermal Processes).
Chapter 5. Ducking First a Roar and Then a Flash. (Electricity and Magnetism).
Chapter 6. Splashing Colors Everywhere, Like a Rainbow. (Optics).
Chapter 7. Armadillos Dancing Against a Swollen Moon. (Vision).
His book The Flying Circus of Physics was published 30 years ago, has been translated into at least 10 languages, and is still being sold world wide. For 16 years he toured his Flying Circus talk throughout the U.S. and Canada, introducing such physics stunts as the bed-of-nails demonstration and the walking-on-hot-coals demonstration to countless physics teachers, who then proceeded to hurt themselves when they repeated the stunts in their own classrooms. These talks led to his PBS television show Kinetic Karnival which ran nationally for years and which earned an Emmy.