Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics

Gregory J. Gbur

View Inside Price: $26.00

October 22, 2019
320 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
75 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300231298

The question of how falling cats land on their feet has intrigued humans since at least the middle of the nineteenth century. In this playful and eye-opening history, physicist and cat parent Gregory Gbur explores how attempts to understand the cat-righting reflex have provided crucial insights into puzzles in mathematics, geophysics, neuroscience, and human space exploration.

The result is an engaging tumble through physics, physiology, photography, and robotics to uncover, through scientific debate, the secret of the acrobatic performance known as cat-turning, the cat flip, and the cat twist. Readers learn the solution, but also discover that the finer details still inspire heated arguments. As with other cat behavior, the more we investigate, the more surprises we discover.

Gregory J. Gbur is professor of physics and optical science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He contributed to the book Science Blogging: The Essential Guide and writes two blogs about horror and the history of science.

“When the shelves in the science section of bookstores groan under the weight of tomes concerning String Theory and the Higgs Boson, this extremely well written popular science book concerning such a human scale problem is refreshing.”—James Kakalios, author of The Physics of Superheroes