I thought about this as my husband tried to explain to me that tectonic plates in the earth cause earthquakes and that a mild quake did not mean that California would plunge into the ocean. I was in Santa Monica the week before last when the first earthquake woke me up around 6:30 a.m. and I felt like the earth would give way. It might have been that I have bad motion sickness but I felt woozy for hours afterwards. Today, I heard about the earthquake in Oklahoma and Kansas and again my husband explained the physics of the earth tremors and why my fear that the earth would “explode” was unwarranted.
I remember the smelling salts my high school physics teacher, Mr. Kroll, used to put under my nose to wake me up while I slept through his class in the late afternoon. Looking back, I am infuriated by my utter lack of interest in the knowledge he was trying to impart to the class and the importance of it. There are so many aspects of the physical world that I do not understand because I did not pay attention in high school physics. We need to know these things, even those of us that aren’t in the hard sciences; at least we should know the basics. Now, as an adult, I will have to try to understand the basics without Dr. Kroll to help me. I should have listened in physics class many years ago.
Any suggestions for a basic physics book? I found some that looked good but if you know of better ones, drop the title in the comments. Thanks!
Update: Thanks so much for all the suggestions and lessons so far, they are extremely helpful to me.