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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, James Livingston 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.
From the "new" science of materials to everyday technology, Driving Force makes the workings of magnets a matter of practical wonder. The book will inform and entertain technical and nontechnical readers alike and will give them a clearer sense of the force behind so much of the working world.Here's one you may not have thought about in a while: Magnets, how do they work and what do they do? Well, James D. Livingston, a former specialist in magnetic research for General Electric, has answers for you in this look at the technological marvels performed by the power of magnets. "Very few of the teenagers listening to the latest rock or rap through their earphones today," he writes, "realize the debt they owe to improved permanent magnets." No doubt. But as Livingston points out, magnets are at the core of videocassette recorders, telephones, radios, cassette recorders, washers, dryers, vacuum cleaners, clocks, printers and television. And you thought they were just something you stuck on the refrigerator door.