The Physics of Everyday Things

By James Kakalios

From the moment we wake up until we go to sleep at days end, we employ the most amazing science as we go about our everyday tasks, whether using a toaster to make breakfast, checking a smartphone for the day’s weather report or watching a flat-screen television. Yet most of us don’t understand the physics that makes our modern world so convenient.

From high-speed elevators to the complex inner workings of ultrasound imaging, and TSA screening devices, the technology we routinely use can seem mystifying. How do touch-screens work, and how do our wrist fitness monitors keep track of our steps? How do we glide through tolls using an E-Z Pass, or find our way to new places using GPS in our hybrid cars?

Coupling each cogent explanation with a story showing the astonishing physics at work, Kakalios explores the interplay of the invisible forces surrounding us. Through this “narrative physics,” Kakalios demonstrates that sophisticated science is quite practical. In crisp, lucid prose and with his signature cleverness, Kakalios illuminates the scientific principles we take for granted - and shows us how the ordinary is also quite exciting.

Advance Praise For

The Physics of Everyday Things

About The Author

James Kakalios is the Taylor Distinguished Professor the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota. His popular science book THE PHYSICS OF SUPERHEROES was published in 2005, and has been translated into six languages. He is also the author of THE AMAZING STORY OF QUANTUM MECHANICS (2010) and the recently published THE PHYSICS OF EVERDAY THINGS (Crown, 2017).

He served as the science consultant for the Warner Bros. superhero film Watchmen (his short video The Science of Watchmen won a Regional Emmy award) and the Sony film The Amazing Spider-Man.

His research interests include nanocrystalline and amorphous semiconductors and fluctuation phenomena in neurological systems. His efforts at science outreach have been recognized with awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Physics.

Book Tour Schedule

Meet James Kakalios

May 16 - Ann Arbor, MI
124 East Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
May 17 - Minneapolis, MN
3038 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55408
May 18 - Milwaukee, WI
2559 N Downer Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53211
May 22 - Denver, CO
2526 E Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80206
May 23 - Boulder, CO
1107 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302
May 24 - Portland, OR
3415 SW Cedar Hills Boulevard
Beaverton, OR 97005
May 25 - Seattle, WA
4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
NOTE: C-SPAN will be on site to film this event.

Buy The Book

Released in May 2017. Ask for it wherever books are sold or order your copy from an online retailer now.


For Inquiries regarding Private/Public Lectures:
Jeff Lesh - William Morris Endeavor Lecture Department
telephone: 212.903.372

For Media Inquires/Interview Requests:
Sarah Grimm - Crown Books
telephone: 212.782.8637