Book Review: Physics for Future Presidents


I had meaning to read this book for a while; both because it was lent to me and I wanted to get it back ASAP, but also because I was interested in what physics a president should know.  Of course, from my point of view, a president could benefit from a formal education in physics, but what were the bare essentials?

Physics for Future Presdients: The Science Behind the Headlines is written by Richard A. Muller, a professor of physics at UC Berkley.  I’ve learned a bit about him since I read this book, and he seems to be a very interesting physicist, not content to sit in his lab and research, but to write and be vocal.  I respect that.  He also has a new book called ‘The Instant Physicist: An Illustrated Guide,’ that i’d like to check out eventually.

Anyway, this book was great.  Muller writes as if the reader is running for the presidency, and he is trying to prepare him/her.  Muller speaks directly to you as you read, which is an interesting and more engaging way to read.  The book covers all the basic things a president needs to be aware of, but from the physics point of view: energy, global warming, space, nuclear power, radiation, etc.

This should not just be required reading for all presidents (and prime ministers), but this should be required reading for EVERYONE.  I feel like this book has a place in any high schooler curriculum.  Though perhaps it would incite better discussions in university.  I say that, because this book directly addresses what is FAKE in the media, and what is REAL.  Is nuclear power dangerous? Should we be worried about global warming? What’s the best way to power a city?  All of the questions are important, and this book covers them all in a very straight forward way.

I highly recommend reading this book, whether a physicist or not!

happy reading!