These Simple Laws Explain How the World Works
Bubbles, toasters, and the internet—most aspects of everyday life are influenced by physics.
Shackleton, Scott, and Amundsen faced many hardships on their treks to the South Pole, from frostbite to snow blindness. Few biographies, though, mention that much of their misery was caused by the ideal gas law, which governs the relationship between the pressure, volume, and temperature of a gas. It is this crucial law of physics, explains British physicist Helen Czerski in her new book Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life, that generates the fearsome katabatic winds, which rake the surface of Antarctica at almost 200 miles an hour.
This is just one example of how the science of physics informs every aspect of life, says Czerski. When National Geographic caught up with her by phone