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A book on mechanics that would pique your curiosity

I am happy to recommend the following book for your general reading.

Ranganath, G.S., ``Mysterious Motions and other Intriguing Phenomena in Physics," Hyderabad, India: Universities Press (2001)

Available from the Publisher's site.

The book is tiny (about 150 pages) and contains a mixture of some loosely related, but very interesting topics. Below, I have reproduced the detailed table of contents of the first three chapters (out of the total six).

The topics are really interesting... For example, did you know that the crumbled ball of aluminium foil has a negative value of Poisson's ratio? Or why the bottle stopper made of cork can be cylindrical in shape whereas that made of rubber has to be conical in shape? Or, have you ever wondered that if sand can be poured like a liquid, why is it that we are we able to stand on it as if it were a solid? Read it all (and much much more) here...

Overall, I like this book because, indirectly, it tells you that classical mechanics is not dead--that you don't have to do only quantum mechanics or relativity in order to do new things in mechanics.

Each of the sub-sections listed below is approximately one journal-page long, and comes with well-chosen references for further reading on that particular topic. The book has no equations and is accessible to a graduate in engineering or science...

Happy reading...!

Table of Contents:

1. Mysterious Motions
1.1 Navigation in outer Space
1.2 The attractions of the Moon
1.3 Many-body problems
1.4 Discovery of chaos
1.5 Chaos in a game of billiards
1.6 The granular state
1.7 Friction in the world of toys
1.8 Ideal and viscous liquids
1.9 Swimming of cells
1.10 Blood flow in capillaries
1.11 Viscoelastic liquids

2. Excitements in Elasticity
2.1 Perplexing elastic behavior
2.2 Drops of liquid crystals
2.3 Prince Rupert's drops
2.4 Delicate spheres and columns
2.5 Dry liquids
2.6 Bubbles and balloons
2.7 Vesicles
2.8 Solving mathematical problems experimentally
2.9 Crumpling of sheets
2.10 Tensile strength of liquids

3. The Warmth of Heat
3.1 Evaporation of gases
3.2 The geometry of random walk
3.3 A demon at work
3.4 Harnessing thermal noise
3.5 Entropic force
3.6 Negative specific heats of vapours
3.7 Unusual mixtures
3.8 Melting of solid helium
3.9 Cooling by dilution
3.10 Entropy-driven ordering

4. The World of Light

5. Unusual Waves and Oscillations

6. Surprises in Electrodynamics

 

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