Date sent: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 09:55:46 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Correction

I spelled that lost city Obar, but it should be Ubar.

Also, sorry about the wrap around failure.

Gerrit V.


Date sent: Fri, 14 Mar 1997 09:53:10 -0500 (EST)
Priority: NORMAL


by Brian H Kayne

ISBN 3-527-29323-X
Weinheim, New York, Cambridge: VCH Publishers, 1996

This is a delightful and highly entertaining textbook,
not just for the eccentric Physics professor and
nutty science teacher but also for lecturers in science
history, etymology-spotters and sports enthusiasts.
Basically, it's a book about the physics (and the
history) of missiles ranging from bows and arrows, darts,
frisbees and flying sauce pans, through the biblical
story of David with his sling shot, to comets and
asteroids and how genetic enineers are firing miniscule
gold bullets into the heart of a cell to change its
genetic structure.

"Walking one day by a golf course in Winsconsin, I was
startled to hear a sharp bang as a golf ball narrowly
missed my head and hit a tree. My companion cheerfully
remarked, 'That could have killed you, you know.' I
picked up the innocent looking little white ball and
looked at it with new respect."

Promted by this perilous experience, Yorkshire-born
Physics Prof Brian Kaye of Laurentian University in
Sudbury, Ontario, has written a witty and informative
book on the design and behaviour of different kinds of
missiles from golf balls, arrows and slingshots to
rockets, fireworks, comets and asteroids. You'll learn
about the science of tennis (and the physics of tennis
balls), the deadly missiles of cricket and baseball, and
find the answer to questions like why a golf ball has
dimples (and how many), why a boomerang comes back, why
the term 'asteroid' is misleading or why impact craters
are named after Greek wine bowls.

The golf playing astronomer might be interested to learn
that a driven golf ball accelerates 10,000 times faster
than the fastes acceleration available in the most
powerful car or how sports scientists measure the
"bounceability" of a golf ball on different types of
grass. Vital information about grasses known as "agrostis
tenuis" or "red-fecucha rubia" and how it can effect your
play, are part and parcel of the physics of golf. [For the
NASA golfer, there is even a brief discussion about the
futuristic molecular chains of the "atomic golf ball" of
the 21st century].

In chapter two, the question is raised as to the energy
release of Robin Hood's and William Tell's bows and where
the word "umpire" derives from. There are further
chapters on "Love and Tennis" (essential read for all
who have always been interested in knowing how things
really work), on "Darts, Stone Discs and Bommerangs" and
on how, during WW1, darts were provided for use in
British aeroplanes for RAF pilots in order to throw them
at German Zeppelins.

Eventually, chapter eight deals with the physics of even
bigger missiles which have repeatedly punctuated the
planets of the solar system and which have become of
growing interest to both the academic world and the
general public. The dynamics of asteroid collisions on
the surface of the Earth are discussed in such a way that
even the most spoiled under-graduate in a one off science
course will be able to tell the difference between the
impact of golf balls and that of fire balls. Sports
enthusiasts, on the other hand, will find it difficult to
get anything valuable out of this chapter which might
enhance their performance (though it will certainly
enhance their general knowledge). There is, however,
still chapter ten to come in which 'dementia pugilistica'
(the 'punch drunk' feature of Mohammed Ali and other
retired professionals) is discussed in view of the impact
dynamics of boxing. In short, it's a wonderful book for
all science teachers with a sense of humour and
innovative teaching methods.

(By the way, Brian H Kayne's next book will deal with the
physicis of dust - including cosmic dust).

Benny Peiser

CCCMENU CCC for 1997