How to Fall Slower Than Gravity: And Other Everyday (and Not So Everyday) Uses of Mathematics and Physical Reasoning

Paul J. Nahin

“Paul Nahin is a virtuoso using simple mathematics to explain strange phenomena. He investigates how mathematical physicists think in this collection of 26 fascinating challenges. The puzzles, which are always interesting, cover anything from ancient catapult conundrums to the perplexing physics of a strange substance called NASTYGLASS, dodging trucks, and understanding why raindrops fall more slowly than the speed of gravity. The problems posed may initially appear to be insurmountable and necessitate an unexpected shift in thinking, yet occasionally the answers are unexpectedly straightforward. However, Nahin’s main objective is to help readers—who just need to have studied advanced high school math and physics—expand their mathematical thinking in order to make sense of the physical world’s mysteries.

To give readers a challenge and give them time to think before looking at the explanations, the problems are in the book’s first section, and the solutions are in the second. The issues demonstrate how physical laws and mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus, can be combined to address both practical and theoretical issues. The book’s historical narratives let readers visualize the events and people behind some truly remarkable discoveries and accomplishments.

This book is more than just a puzzler; it will teach you math while engrossing you in the wonders of scientific history.”