Physics and Technology for Future Presidents

An Introduction to the Essential Physics Every World Leader Needs to Know

by Richard A. Muller

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.

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

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

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

  • Princeton University Press; April 2010
  • ISBN: 9781400835317
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Physics and Technology for Future Presidents
  • Author: Richard A. Muller
  • Imprint: Princeton University Press

In The Press

"Physics and Technology for Future Presidents provides a new answer to an old problem: how to teach physics to nontechnical students. Richard Muller does not 'dumb down' the technical aspects of physics; he skips them altogether and focuses on physics results rather than methods. Fun to read and accessible to general readers, this book presents a lot of interesting physics facts."—Vadim Kaplunovsky, University of Texas, Austin

About The Author

Richard A. Muller is professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a past winner of the MacArthur Fellowship. He is the author of Nemesis (Weidenfeld & Nicholson) and Physics for Future Presidents (Norton).