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The Science of Spin

How Rotational Forces Affect Everything from Your Body to Jet Engines to the Weather

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About The Book

What exactly made the earth round? How do boomerangs turn around mid-air? And why do cats always land on their feet? “A basic scientific concept receives long overdue attention” (Kirkus Reviews) in this “fascinating” (Wall Street Journal) new book from the masterful author of The Age of Wood.

From the solar system to spinning tops, hurricanes to hula hoops, power plants to pendulums, one mysterious force shapes almost every aspect of our lives: spin. Despite its ubiquity, rotational force continues to baffle and surprise, and few people realize how it makes our planet habitable or how it has been tamed by engineers to make our lives more comfortable. Charting the development of engineering and technology from the earliest prehistoric drills to the gas turbine, critically acclaimed author and scientist Roland Ennos presents a riveting account of human ingenuity and the seemingly infinite ways spin affects our daily lives. He also shows how this new approach not only helps us better understand the world but also ourselves. After all, even our own bodies are complex systems of rotating joints and levers.

Artfully moving between astrophysics and anthropology, The Science of Spin shows how, whether natural or engineered, spin is really what makes the world go round.

About The Author

Photograph by Yvonne Golding

Roland Ennos is a visiting professor of biological sciences at the University of Hull. He is the author of successful textbooks on plants, biomechanics, and statistics, and his popular book Trees, published by the Natural History Museum, is now in its third edition. He is also the author of The Age of Wood and The Science of Spin. He lives in England. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (July 18, 2023)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982196523

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Raves and Reviews

"Fascinating. . . . More than a few authors have found success with books that look at a broad swath of history, ideas or science through the lens of a single topic. . . . Ennos elevates this approach to dizzying heights in The Science of Spin. . . . [he] really gets rolling when he describes how much of human flourishing through history has involved harnessing the power of spin." —Wall Street Journal

"From the movement of cricket balls to the shielding of the Earth’s atmosphere and even black holes, this delightful and easy-to-follow book won’t leave your head spinning." —Physics World

"An original and highly engaging insight into how our universe works, encompassing black holes, the cotton mills of the industrial revolution, the biomechanics of walking and more!" —Paul Sen, author of Einstein's Fridge

"The Science of Spin is a delightful book, equally entertaining and enlightening. Read it and you will come away with a better understanding of our world and how it works." —Ricochet

“A basic scientific concept receives long overdue attention . . . Generous with charts and pictures . . . there’s plenty to ponder.” Kirkus Reviews

"This is a wonderfully fascinating book with answers to so many everyday questions you never knew you needed to know. The explanations are lucid and so clear that the one thing it doesn’t do is cause your head to spin." —Mark Miodownik, author of Stuff Matters

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