I bought Thinking Physics, by Lewis C. Epstein in 1984. It's one of my favorite books of brain teasers. They are designed to help you gain a qualitative, intuitive sense of physics. The author stresses that after you read each of the many charmingly illustrated problems in the book, you should put the book away and take your time running a simulation of the problem in your head. This is great advice.
The book is broken up into sections: Mechanics (kinematics, Newton's Law of Motion, momentum and energy, rotation, gravity), Fluids, Heat, Vibration, Light, Electricity and Magnetism, Relativity, and Quanta. If you've never seen this book before, you're in for a treat.
Here's an example problem, which I grabbed from Futility Closet:
A tank of water has two holes of equal area, one at top and one at bottom. The top one leads to a downspout, so that both holes discharge their water at the same level. Ignoring friction, which hole produces the faster flow of water?
You actually don’t need to know the physics in order to solve this — it yields to an insight.
Martin Raynsford makes beautiful and intricate wooden puzzles with space-filling fractal curves and is kickstartering a set of four. The pattern is a single line that crosses all of the two dimensional space without ever repeating. The puzzles follow these simple rules to break the line into multiple pieces that are almost identical but are […]
Here are three two lateral thinking puzzles that were new to me. They’re from the book, Lateral Thinking Puzzles (1991), by Paul Sloane. Death in the Field A man is lying dead in the field. Next to him is an unopened package. There is no other creature in the field. How did he die? Death in Rome […]
One of my favorite puzzle books as a kid was Perplexing Puzzles and Tantalizing Teasers, by Martin Gardner. It had fun “real life” type problems (how can you drive an 11-foot-9 truck under a bridge with 11-foot-8 clearance?) and it introduced me to palindromes (“Straw? No, too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts.”) […]
If you’re into tech at all, you should definitely consider unleashing your inner tinkerer on a Raspberry Pi board. If you’re intimidated, don’t be. It’s a statistical probability that people half your age have created cooler things than you can imagine with the versatile kit. Not sure where to start? The Complete Raspberry Pi 3B+ […]
Are you super organized? You’re going to love the Genius Pack G4 and its seemingly limitless, well-placed compartments. Not that organized? You’re still going to love this piece of luggage because it’s so well thought out that it practically does the packing for you. We’ve all tried to stuff a piece of carry-on so full […]
Despite government legislation and improving caller ID technology, robocalls and scam artists are rampant on the phone lines – up to 35 billion a year in the US alone. They can be annoying at best and a financial threat at worst, but there’s a way to take security into your own hands. One good example […]