Books by Lou Bloomfield

I have written two books, a textbook and a general readership book. Unless you are planning to teach or take a course, you’ll probably do best with the general readership book.

How Everything Works: Making Physics Out of the Ordinary

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470170662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470170663
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1 x 10.9 inches
  • Link to the Table of Contents and Index

This book contains nearly everything I have ever written about how things work. It is the culmination of a lifetime’s worth of tinkering with everyday objects and a fifteen-year mission of trying to teach what I’ve learned to ordinary people.

Unlike other “what-makes-it-work” books, How Everything Works goes well beyond structure, engineering, and history; it also examines the real scientific foundations behind the myriad objects and activities it explores.

As I hope you can already see from this web site, I work hard at expressing serious scientific issues and insights in ways that are accessible to anyone. How Everything Works is the result of thousands of hours of careful writing and it is meant to be read like a novel, not put on the shelf or table as an exhibit. I am not a magician, I am a physicist, and my goal has always been to give away all the secrets. If you, the reader, can’t follow or understand what I have written, then I have failed. I hope that you will take a look at How Everything Works and find that I have met my goal.

There is much hand-wringing in this country (USA) about how far behind we are in science and math. But talk is cheap and action is what counts. Here is my attempt at doing something about scientific literacy in this country and elsewhere. Whether you’re 10-years old or over 80, reading this book will teach you an enormous amount of physics and physical science. And most importantly, you’ll discover that science is truly part of your everyday world.

How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life, 6th Edition



  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 6 edition (December 2, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10:  1119013844
  • ISBN-13: 978-1119013846
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Laws of Motion, Part 1
Section 1.1
Section 1.2
Falling Balls
Section 1.3
Chapter 2 The Laws of Motion, Part 2
Section 2.1
Wind Turbines
Section 2.2
Section 2.3
Bumper Cars
Chapter 3 Mechanical Objects, Part 1
Section 3.1
Spring Scales
Section 3.2
Bouncing Balls
Section 3.3
Carousels and Roller Coasters
Chapter 4 Mechanical Objects, Part 2
Section 4.1
Section 4.2
Rockets and Space Travel
Chapter 5 Fluids
Section 5.1
Section 5.2
Water Distribution
Chapter 6 Fluids and Motion
Section 6.1
Garden Watering
Section 6.2
Balls and Air
Section 6.3
Chapter 7 Heat and Phase Transitions
Section 7.1
Section 7.2
Water, Steam, and Ice
Section 7.3
Clothing, Insulation, and Climate
Chapter 8 Thermodynamics
Section 8.1
Air Conditioners
Section 8.2
Chapter 9
Resonance and Mechanical Waves
Section 9.1
Section 9.2
Musical Instruments
Section 9.3
The Sea
Chapter 10 Electricity
Section 10.1
Static Electricity
Section 10.2
Xerographic Copiers
Section 10.3
Chapter 11 Magnetism and Electrodynamics
Section 11.1
Household Magnets
Section 11.2
Electric Power Distribution
Chapter 12 Electromagnetic Waves
Section 12.1
Section 12.2
Microwave Ovens
Chapter 13 Light
Section 13.1
Section 13.2
Discharge Lamps
Section 13.3
Lasers and LEDs
Chapter 14 Optics and Electronics
Section 14.1
Section 14.2
Optical Recording and Communications
Section 14.3
Audio Players
Chapter 15 Modern Physics
Section 15.1
Nuclear Weapons
Section 15.2
Nuclear Reactors
Section 15.3
Medical Imaging and Radiation


The 6thedition of “How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life” is available from John Wiley & Sons. This textbook examines 40 objects or activities in our everyday world and serves both as a comprehensive introduction to physics and as a guide to how many of the objects around us work. It is intended as a text for liberal arts students in a one or two semester survey course. What makes this essentially non-mathematical text unusual is that it begins with the objects and looks within them for the concepts of physics. It is first and foremost a book about those objects.

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