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The Physics of Everyday Life

Evening Program with Book Signing

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1B0199
Physicist, Helen Czerski (Photo: Alex Brenner)

Our life here on Earth is messy, mutable, and full of humdrum things that we touch and modify without much thought every day. But our familiar surroundings are just the place to look if you’re interested in what makes the universe tick. In Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Eveyday Life (W. W. Norton & Company), Helen Czerski links ordinary objects and occurrences, like popcorn popping, coffee stains, and fridge magnets, to big ideas like climate change, the energy crisis, or innovative medical testing.

In a program likely to change the way you look at the things around you, she delves into topics including the principles of gases (“Explosions in the kitchen are generally considered a bad idea. But just occasionally a small one can produce something delicious”); gravity (drop some raisins in a bottle of carbonated lemonade and watch the whoosh of bubbles and the dancing raisins at the bottom bumping into each other); size (she explains the action of the water molecules that cause the crime-scene stain left by a puddle of dried coffee); and time (why it takes so long for ketchup to come out of a bottle). She demonstrates that instead of being the realm of academics and lab-coated researchers, the world of science is one that we all live in.

Czerski is a physicist at University College London’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and a science presenter for BBC. She writes a monthly column for BBC Focus magazine called Everyday Science that was shortlisted for a Professional Publishers Association Award.

Storm in a Teacup is available for signing.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
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Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)