REVIEW: "The Physics of NASCAR", Diandra Leslie-Pelecky
- BKPHNSCR.RVW 20080421
"The Physics of NASCAR", Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, 2008,
%A Diandra Leslie-Pelecky www.stockcarscience.com
%C 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
%G 978-0-525-95053-0 0-525-95053-2
%O U$25.95 416-925-2249 Fax: 416-925-0068 service@...
%O Audience i+ Tech 2 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 286 p.
%T "The Physics of NASCAR: How to Make Steel + Gas + Rubber = Speed"
Nothing in the foreword or the preface really prepares you for the
contents of the book, As chapter one opens, it seems like it's going
to be a travelogue by an interested fan who knows something of
technology and has managed to wangle invites to the workshops and pit
areas of the NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing)
circuit. And then suddenly you realize you are, seamlessly and
painlessly, into a lesson on materials science and crystalline
structure, interwoven with, and arising from, the sights and sounds in
a specialized construction plant. Leslie-Lelecky's classes must be
Well, maybe. That first chapter is great. The material following is
pretty good, well-written and interesting in a number of places, but
it is not as well integrated, and the science component doesn't go to
the same high level. Chapter two spends a lot of time on the process
of making a NASCAR car before getting into a short outline of
polymers. Then we move through colour, general dynamics (heat,
combustion, conduction, and friction), power (with less physics than
you'd think), and the co-operative nature of research, using the
problem of aerodynamics. Then more aerodynamics, newtonian dynamics,
sound (and radio frequencies), friction and tires, springs,
experimenting, car safety (and crumple zones), track safety, fire
protection (heat, carbon monoxide, and a lot of biology), and
miscellaneous bits of other technologies (sometimes with very little
said about the physics involved).
For those interested in cars, undoubtedly it will be fascinating to
see how much science is involved. Those into science would possibly
be intrigued by some of the technologies used. In general, the
author's accounts of the people and the teams are sympathetic and grow
more so as the book progresses.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2008 BKPHNSCR.RVW 20080421
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rslade@... slade@... rslade@...
When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only
think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished,
if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
- Buckminster Fuller