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April 2012 Physics Books

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Physics books released in April 2012, based upon various descriptions, press releases, and research, but in most cases I haven't had a chance to read the book in question myself.

1. Megacatastrophes!: Nine Strange Ways the World Could End

Oneworld

There's a lot of talk about the end of the world, due to the superstitions surrounding the claims about a Mayan apocalypse ... and just the act that people seem to like talking about the end of the world. Well, in this book, scientists Dr. David Darling and Dr. Dirk Schulze-Makuch explore the science behind possible ways that the world could end, even going so far as to rate the likelihood of each possible destructive method, from asteroids to black holes to armies of nanobots.

Publication Date: April 16, 2012

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2. Introduction to Special Relativity by James H. Smith

Dover Publication

Written in a concise manner, this book is intended to be a clear representation of special relativity, accessible with only a high school mathematics background. If you're looking to begin some personal self-study in understanding Einstein's theory, then this book might be a good place to start. It includes 70 illustrations.

Publication Date: April 11, 2012

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3. Everything You Need to Know About the Universe by Christopher Cooper

Thunder Bay Press

Science writer Christopher Cooper takes the reader beyond this little ball of stone, dirt, and water, to explore the greater cosmos and discover what makes it tick. This reference book provides you with an ample amount of data about existence beyond the boundaries of the Earth, along with full-color maps, charts, and illustrations.

Publication Date: April 10, 2012

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4. Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us

John Wiley & Sons

In this Before the Lights Go Out, Maggie Koerth-Baker (the science editor of the popular aggregator website Boing Boing) goes into a detailed exploration of the possible courses that lay before us as we try to figure out how to move forward by producing enough energy for our needs. Koerth-Baker leaves virtually no stone unturned in investigating the benefits and failings of our various energy options. Here's some further information from the promotional material for the book:

Over the next 20 years, we'll be forced to cut 20 quadrillion BTU worth of fossil fuels from our energy budget, by wasting less and investing in alternatives. To make it work, we'll need to radically change the energy systems that have shaped our lives for 100 years. And the result will be neither business-as-usual, nor a hippie utopia. Koerth-Baker explains what we can do, what we can't do, and why "The Solution" is really a lot of solutions working together. This isn't about planting a tree, buying a Prius, and proving that you're a good person. Economics and social incentives got us a country full of gas-guzzling cars, long commutes, inefficient houses, and coal-fired power plants out in the middle of nowhere, and economics and incentives will be the things that build our new world. Ultimately, change is inevitable.

Publication Date: April 3, 2012

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5. So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel

Berkley Trade

So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel by Phil Hornshaw and Nick Hurwitch is written as a "field guide/survival manual" about time travel. As such, it goes beyond just explaining what a wormhole is and also covers a wide range of the basic scientific and "practical" aspects related to time travel. What is practical about time travel, you ask? Well, how about instructions on how to befriend and train a dinosaur? You don't get much more practical than that (for a time traveler, at least). This book clearly falls on the humorous end of the spectrum, but it's probably got some good science wedged in among all of the amusing exaggerations and cliches.

Publication Date: April 3, 2012

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