James D. Livingston

Driving Force: The Natural Magic of Magnets

Driving Force unfolds the long and colorful history of magnets: how they guided (or misguided) Columbus; mesmerized eighteenth-century Paris but failed to fool Benjamin Franklin; lifted AC power over its rival, DC, despite all the animals, one human among them, executed along the way; led Einstein to the theory of relativity; helped defeat Hitler’s U-boats; inspired writers from Plato to Dave Barry. In a way that will delight and instruct even the nonmathematical among us, Driving Force shows us how scientists today are creating magnets and superconductors that can levitate high-speed trains, produce images of our internal organs, steer high-energy particles in giant accelerators, and--last but not least--heat our morning coffee.

“This book will delight people interested in science and surprise people that thought science was dull.”
--Ivar Giaever, Nobel-Prize physicist

“Informative, well laid out, and enjoyable. Highly recommended.”
--Library Journal

“A stimulating mix of science, history, and technology.”

“If you talk about science to young people in the schools, Driving Force can provide stories and ideas for any level from preschool to university.”
--Physics Today

“For the science teacher, I cannot think of a better way to integrate all disciplines of math and life and physical sciences than this book.”
--Masthead (Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers)

“Covering subjects ranging from the science of magnetic forces to that great magnet in the sky, our planet, to the fakes who assure you that magnets will improve your wine and your sexual prowess, Livingston has written a book that is easy, entertaining, and often fascinating.”
--Leon Lederman, Nobel-Prize physicist

“The book is a ‘must’ read for anybody who has an interest in cow magnets.”
--Dave Barry, syndicated humor columnist

Selected Works

A brief sequel to Arsenic and Clam Chowder, in which Mary Alice travels north on the Klondike Gold Rush
A sensational murder trial set in 1890s New York
Popular Science
The first review of the many and varied forms of magnetic levitation written for a general audience.
A entertaining treatment of the history, legends, science, and technology of magnets for a general audience.
Historical Biography
The dramatic life story of an early feminist and abolitionist who was both witty and wise.
Undergraduate Textbook
A lively introduction to the electrical, optical, and magnetic properties of solids.

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