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Inflight Science : A Guide to the World from Your Airplane Window - Brian Clegg

Inflight Science

A Guide to the World from Your Airplane Window

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The perfect companion to any flight - a guide to the science from your window.

There are few times when science is so immediate as when you're in a plane. Your life is in the hands of the scientists and engineers who enable tons of metal and plastic to hurtle through the sky at hundreds of miles an hour.

Inflight Science shows how you stay alive up there - but that's only the beginning. Brian Clegg explains the ever changing view, whether it's crop circles or clouds, mountains or river deltas, and describes simple experiments to show how a wing provides lift, or what happens if you try to open a door in midair (don't!).

On a plane you'll experience the impact of relativity, the power of natural radiation and the effect of altitude on the boiling point of tea. Among the many things you'll learn is why the sky is blue, the cause of thunderstorms and the impact of volcanic ash in an enjoyable tour of mid-air science. Every moment of your journey is an opportunity to experience science in action: Inflight Science will be your guide.

About The Author

Brian Clegg is a science writer. He runs popularscience.co.uk and his most recent book was Armageddon Science (St Martin's Press, 2010).

'We should be grateful for this book from Brian Clegg, an unabashed aircraft geek ... With this book in hand, we have all we need to set off on our next flight with our eyes open to the sheer wonder of what is involved.' Alain de Botton, Mail on Sunday 'Inflight Science, by Brian Clegg, is essentially an eye-spy book for adults ... The great strength of the book is its ability to pull out from the mundane experiences of modern air travel - the contrails and cumulonimbus, the security scanners and salted snacks - to explain a wider technical point' The Times

List of illustrationsp. ix
About the authorp. x
At the Airportp. 1
Terminal boredomp. 1
An airport dividedp. 2
Bag checkp. 3
Testing the airp. 6
A lesson in detectionp. 8
Body scanp. 11
Who do you think you are?p. 12
The science of superstitionp. 15
Taking to the Skyp. 18
Aircraft basicsp. 18
Fuelling flightp. 19
The greenhouse effect's good sidep. 22
Flying the green wayp. 24
Getting movingp. 25
Big radar is watching youp. 28
Something on the air tonightp. 30
Sat nav on the flight deckp. 32
The universal languagep. 34
The latest model on the runwayp. 35
How Newton's laws get you goingp. 38
Joining the jet setp. 41
Rotation and climbingp. 42
Under pressurep. 43
Wing workp. 44
Control surfaces in actionp. 48
Exploring the Landscapep. 52
The mystery of the fieldsp. 52
On the Nazca plainsp. 54
Chalk marks the spotp. 57
The traces of the pastp. 61
Following the water coursep. 63
Fascinating fractalsp. 65
The making of meandersp. 66
How does your town grow?p. 69
The infinite coastp. 72
Gravity always winsp. 76
From river to seap. 78
Water, water everywherep. 80
Time and tide wait for no onep. 82
On the crest of a wavep. 85
What colour is the sea?p. 88
Above the Cloudsp. 91
Into the cloudsp. 91
An adventure in cloud-spottingp. 94
All the way to cloud 9p. 95
No pot of gold for an endless rainbowp. 100
Over icy seasp. 102
Up into the sunlightp. 103
Voyage to the heart of the Sunp. 104
Why is the sky blue?p. 106
Why does the Sun keep shining?p. 108
Taking a trip through a quantum tunnelp. 110
Crossing flight pathsp. 112
Leaving a trail in the skyp. 114
Is there life out there?p. 117
Going walkaboutp. 118
Travelling through bumpy airp. 120
The flash of lightningp. 122
A static chargep. 123
Making lightningp. 125
Electricity on the movep. 126
There's safety in metal boxesp. 128
Grounded by the ashp. 129
Volcanic eruptionp. 130
In the radiation zonep. 132
Fooled by a natural highp. 135
A cosmic collisionp. 135
Cabin Lifep. 138
Pressure on the blood supplyp. 138
Catching up with jet lagp. 138
Crossing the time zonesp. 139
What jet lag is (and isn't)p. 141
Taming jet lagp. 142
Resorting to medicationp. 143
Is there a jet lag north/south divide?p. 145
A moving experiencep. 146
Relatively interestingp. 148
Galileo's big ideap. 149
In the jet streamp. 152
The special onep. 153
Anti-ageing flightsp. 155
A nice cup of teap. 156
Hearing foodp. 158
Technology in Flightp. 159
Following your course on the mapp. 159
Projecting the worldp. 160
At the bleeding edge of technologyp. 161
Keeping the screen flatp. 162
Bartholin's crystal wonderp. 164
Giving light the liquid crystal twistp. 166
Taking your hi-tech with youp. 167
The view from the flight deckp. 168
Following the guidance of inertiap. 170
Tracking your way through the airp. 172
Einstein's accelerating revelationp. 173
The feeble forcep. 176
Gyroscopic gyrationsp. 177
Distant Views and Back to Earthp. 179
Viewing the distant mountain peaksp. 179
As old as the hillsp. 181
It's cold on them thar hillsp. 181
The icing on the mountainp. 182
Around the bend with a siphonp. 184
The vacuum solutionp. 187
Meeting the night skyp. 189
A view of Venusp. 189
The amazing Moonp. 191
The changing face of the man in the Moonp. 194
Welcome to the galaxyp. 197
The street light fantasiap. 198
The amazing eyep. 198
Making up a picture of the worldp. 200
Eyes widep. 201
First touch on the runwayp. 202
Final stepsp. 204
Picture creditsp. 205
Indexp. 207
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781848312418
ISBN-10: 1848312415
Audience: General
Format: Paperback with Flaps on Inside & Back Covers
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 212
Published: 19th July 2011
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.5 x 13.4  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.26
Edition Number: 1