Physics and Technology for Future Presidents:
An Introduction to the Essential Physics Every World Leader Needs to Know
Richard A. Muller

One of Choice's Compilation of Significant University Press Titles for Undergraduates for 2010-2011

Hardcover | 2010 | $69.95 | ($48.97) / £48.95 | (£34.27) | ISBN: 9780691135045
536 pp. | 7 x 10 | 130 color illus. 15 tables.
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Leading universities that have adopted this book

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bookjacket An Instructor's Manual is available for qualified professors who have adopted this book in a course. To request a printed manual, enter ISBN: 9780691135045 at

Richard Muller's Chapter 6, from Science and the Educated American: A Core Component of Liberal Education (published by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2010)

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Physics and Technology for Future Presidents contains the essential physics that students need in order to understand today's core science and technology issues, and to become the next generation of world leaders. From the physics of energy to climate change, and from spy technology to quantum computers, this is the only textbook to focus on the modern physics affecting the decisions of political leaders and CEOs and, consequently, the lives of every citizen. How practical are alternative energy sources? Can satellites really read license plates from space? What is the quantum physics behind iPods and supermarket scanners? And how much should we fear a terrorist nuke? This lively book empowers students possessing any level of scientific background with the tools they need to make informed decisions and to argue their views persuasively with anyone--expert or otherwise.

Based on Richard Muller's renowned course at Berkeley, the book explores critical physics topics: energy and power, atoms and heat, gravity and space, nuclei and radioactivity, chain reactions and atomic bombs, electricity and magnetism, waves, light, invisible light, climate change, quantum physics, and relativity. Muller engages readers through many intriguing examples, helpful facts to remember, a fun-to-read text, and an emphasis on real-world problems rather than mathematical computation. He includes chapter summaries, essay and discussion questions, Internet research topics, and handy tips for instructors to make the classroom experience more rewarding.

Accessible and entertaining, Physics and Technology for Future Presidents gives students the scientific fluency they need to become well-rounded leaders in a world driven by science and technology.

Professors: A supplementary Instructor's Manual is available for this book. It is restricted to teachers using the text in courses. For information on how to obtain a copy, refer to:

Leading universities that have adopted this book include:

  • Harvard
  • Purdue
  • Rice University
  • University of Chicago
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Notre Dame
  • Wellesley
  • Wesleyan
  • University of Colorado
  • Northwestern
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
  • Fordham
  • University of Miami
  • George Washington University


"'Physics for Future Presidents' is a course, yes (with the professor's best seller, and soon its sequel, serving as textbook), but it is really more a tour de force. Richard A. Muller presents an astonishing amount of information on atoms, antimatter and other subjects. But since these are actual lectures, recorded in a hall on the Berkeley campus. . . . It's all highly entertaining and educational, although it's hard to imagine being able to absorb it all. The course is geared for nonscientists, billed as being long on concepts and short on math, and covers topics like radioactivity, climate change and waves of all kinds. Yet it doesn't spare details."--Henry Fountain, New York Times

"[I]t's a great textbook for a physics course for non-scientists, and there's plenty of stuff in there to interest scientists as well."--Brian Clegg, Popular Science

"Muller does a very good job of comprehensively describing the physics base of the technological infrastructure of our social world."--Choice

"[T]his handsome volume merits a very wide readership if we are to make the most of it and of everything else for that matter."--Arthur B. Shostak, European Legacy


"Modern science and technology have the power to shape the world we live in, for good or for evil. Muller, himself a brilliant, creative scientist, has distilled the most important scientific principles that define our choices, and has presented them clearly and objectively. To make wise decisions, not only future presidents, but future business and community leaders, and thoughtful citizens generally, need the information in this book."--Frank Wilczek, Nobel Prize--winning physicist

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    File created: 9/19/2015

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