Geek Physics by Rhett Allain

Posted on July 6, 2015 by Tommy McGuire
Labels: books

Geek Physics: Surprising Answers to the Planet's Most Interesting Questions, by Rhett Allain, has a certain dadaist charm. Some of it is obviously intentional ("Let me explain my favorite moment of an [sic] inertia demo---a demo you can do on your own. For this example, I have two sticks of some type with some masses attached to them. I used juice boxes taped to PVC pipes."), but some of it, unfortunately, isn't.

Here's one example:

"The typical model for gravity, as developed by Newton, says that the gravitational proportional to the product of the masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between these objects.

"As an equation, it would look like this:

"sw(t) = (0.0314 m/year)t + 4.656m"

The problem is that equation is the linear regression model of the women's records in the long jump, which sort of has something to do with gravity, but.... There are near-duplicate paragraphs, just different enough to know Allain was trying, and other typos like the moment of inertia thing above. Mostly, the book appears to be unedited posts from his Wired blog.

The topics and his approach are good; I especially enjoyed driving through a crowd of zombies modelled as a fluid dynamics problem. But the book itself isn't worth the price of admission.


Geek Physics seems to be a unusual book, but it is a good try to explain physics principles in a light hearted manner.

Paul Leuben
active directory applied formal logic ashurbanipal authentication books c c++ comics conference continuations coq data structure digital humanities Dijkstra eclipse virgo electronics emacs goodreads haskell http java job Knuth ldap link linux lisp math naming nimrod notation OpenAM osgi parsing pony programming language protocols python quote R random REST ruby rust SAML scala scheme shell software development system administration theory tip toy problems unix vmware yeti
Member of The Internet Defense League
Site proudly generated by Hakyll.