From Peter Pan to Harry Potter, from David Copperfield to levitating toys, there is magic in conquering gravity. In this first-ever popular introduction to “maglev”— the use of magnetic forces to overcome gravity and friction—James D. Livingston takes lay readers on a journey of discovery, from basic concepts to today’s most thrilling applications.
The tour begins with examples of our historical fascination with levitation, both real and fake. At the next stop, Livingston introduces readers to the components of maglev: gravitational and magnetic forces in the universe, force fields, diamagnetism and stabilization, superdiamagnetism and supercurrents, maglev nanotechnology, and more. He explores the development of the superconductors that are making large-scale levitation devices possible, and the use of magnetic bearings in products ranging from implanted blood pumps to wind turbines, integrated circuit fabrication, and centrifuges to enrich uranium. In the last chapters, we arrive at the science behind maglev transportation systems, such as Chinese trains that travel 250 miles per hour without touching the tracks.
Packed with fascinating anecdotes about the colorful personalities who have “fought friction by fighting gravity,” the book maintains accuracy throughout while it entertains and informs technical and nontechnical readers alike. With so many new applications for magnetic levitation on the horizon, Rising Force is sure to retain its own magic for years to come.
This book is an extensive compendium of everything you might want to know about levitation of things both animate and inanimate. James Livingston is a master of this genre in that he presents quite difficult concepts with humor, history, and detail while always maintaining technical accuracy.
A well-written, factual account of magnetic levitation and accompanying lore over the ages, Rising Force is a welcome addition to Livingston's previous books on magnetics.
No, MIT professor Livingston writes, the magnetically levitated island in Gulliver's Travels (or its homage in Avatar) is not possible...But while Jonathan Swift's version of levitation is science fiction, it and other cultural examples dot this accessible illustration of the physics that allow for real-life wonders like maglev trains.
Further proof that physics can be fun...Think of Peter Pan, David Copperfield, and Harry Potter. Livingston, a physicist and lecturer at MIT who writes songs about physics, looks at the historical fascination with levitation, both real and fake, and explores the use of magnetic forces to overcome gravity and friction in flying frogs, implanted heart pumps, and high-speed trains.
Giving a new meaning to literary suspense, physicist James Livingston devotes his book to the science of magnetic levitation. From laboratory demonstrations of floating magnets, flying frogs and suspended sumo wrestlers to the realities of urban maglev trains, he uncovers humanity's fascination with the magic of defying gravity, as well as the physics of magnetic fields and superconductivity.
General science and technology buffs will find this accessible book fascinating and might be tempted to try a little levitation themselves.
If you thought magnetic levitation was mostly about flying trains, then read Rising Force. Former physicist at GE and lecturer at MIT, James D. Livingston can barely conceal his excitement, and dry sense of humor, as he takes his readers on a whistle-stop tour of everything "maglev."
I can easily recommend this title. It's a good insight into an aspect of much of modern technology, with enough surrounding material to keep it entertaining to read.
- 288 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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