PULLMAN, Wash. – Copies of the 2011-12 common reading book, “Physics for Future Presidents: The Science behind the Headlines,” by Richard A. Muller, are available to Washington State University faculty interested in using the book in their undergraduate courses for the coming year.
 
“Physics for Future Presidents” was chosen as the common reading book for freshmen by Provost and Executive Vice President Warwick M. Bayly in late March. The 2010-11 book, “Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” by Greg Mortenson, was widely used in first-year classes across campus.
 
The new book covers five complex, contemporary issues – terrorism, energy, “nukes,” space, and global warming – in a manner designed to be understandable for readers from all backgrounds. Each set of chapters concludes with a “Presidential Summary” that explains the decisions the reader would need to make on the topic as the president of the United States.
 
In the text, Muller looks at history, misinformation and hype while helping the reader balance those with a more logical scientific approach.The physics professor’s book is based on his own renowned course at Berkeley for non-science majors.
 
Muller’s book is broadly applicable to fields across campus, including business, communications, education, the humanities, political science, and STEM disciplines.
 
To enhance the experience of students using the book in classes, the Common Reading Program hosts an evening lecture series, which starts during the week-of-welcome. Events feature WSU faculty, students and guests presenting on topics inspired by the text.
 
For the 2010-11 program, 77 percent of attendees reported that the lectures helped further their understanding of the issues presented in the book.
 
Those interested in a desk copy should contact Karen Weathermon, co-director of the WSU Common Reading Program, at 509-335-5488 or kweathermon@wsu.edu.
 
For more information on “Physics for Future Presidents” and on the Common Reading Program, visit http://commonreading.wsu.edu/.