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A few years ago I remember browsing a pair of books that had a list of challenge-like questions about everyday physics, such as why do we deep fry hamburgers, how air conditioning works, etc. They came in two volumes, one for classical physics and one for modern. I think the title went something like "100 Everyday Physics Challenges" or similar.

I've been meaning to take another look at those books for a while, but no matter what term I search, I can't seem to find them. Does it ring a bell to anyone?

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  • $\begingroup$ Does this book have answers to those questions, or just the questions? $\endgroup$ – BMS Feb 1 '14 at 7:19
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I'm not quite sure these are the droids you are looking for (I can't find neither hamburgers nor AC inside), but on my shelf I have a German translation of something originally called "Mad About Physics" by Christopher P. Jargodzki and Franklin Potter - you should check those out.

There are two volumes:

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  • $\begingroup$ That's it! The questions I mentioned are 10 and 16 on the first book. Will be having lots of fun with those. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Felipe Jacob Feb 1 '14 at 13:50
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Clifford Swartz's "Back of the Envelope Physics" was highly recommended to me a couple of years ago. I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but this might be along the lines of what you are looking for.

It is supposed to teach one of the toughest facets of dealing with real-life physics problems; the ability to throw out the things which aren't important and properly approximate the things which are.

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  • $\begingroup$ seems like a nice book, didn't know this yet! +1 $\endgroup$ – Zoltan Zimboras Feb 1 '14 at 3:42
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    $\begingroup$ This doesn't seem to be the book the OP was asking for, though; e.g. there's no companion volume. $\endgroup$ – David Z Feb 1 '14 at 4:27
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    $\begingroup$ This is not the book I was looking for, but it looks really good! Same style of topics, but it seems to have a more quantitative approach. Thanks for the recommendation! $\endgroup$ – Felipe Jacob Feb 1 '14 at 13:54

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