Content By Robert Sanders

By: Robert Sanders

Richard Muller is a guy who thinks spouting fun physics facts will make you the life of the party. And his new book, The Instant Physicist: An Illustrated Guide (W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., 2011), may just convince you he’s right.

Who knew, for example, that liquor, by law, must be radioactive, or that you really can get your clothes whiter than white, or that the Earth is traveling through space at a million miles per hour?

These are some of the astonishing facts Muller, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, explains with the help of witty cartoons by illustrator Joey Manfre. “When I was a kid, I used to love Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” says Muller says. “If you know any 10-year-olds, giving them a copy of this book will begin to make them fascinated by science. But the book is equally liked by physics professors.”