Science Book a Day Interviews Christine McKinley


Special thanks to Christine McKinley for answering 5 questions about her recently featured book – Physics for Rock Stars: Making the Laws of the Universe Work for You

Christine McKinley is a mechanical engineer, musician, and author. Her musical Gracie and the Atom, won a Portland Drammy for Original Score. Her book Physics for Rock Stars will be available June 3, 2014. Christine hosted Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on History Channel and Under New York on Discovery Channel. – From Christine’s Homepage

Christine’s Homepage:
Christine’s Twitter:

#1 – What was the impetus for Physics for Rock Stars? Why do rock stars need to know about physics?

Everyone should know the basic laws of motion and energy. Even rock stars. We can’t do anything to change them, so we need to know and work with them. There are so many smart, creative people who don’t know how the universe works. They are missing out!

#2 – You book includes no equations. Do you think it’s important to convey physics without equations?

The book does include a handful of equations, but if you aren’t a math person you can skip them and still understand the ideas. I didn’t want to leave anyone out.

#3 – You use wild and varied examples, from how to do the perfect stage dive to purifying water. Why did you choose to use examples like these? What was your favourite example?

I chose examples that would show the reader how essential an understanding of physics is to their glamorous life as a rock star, explorer, runway model, or secret agent. I’ve heard too many people say they don’t need to learn math and science because they have something much cooler in mind. Nothing is cooler or more interesting than how the universe works.

My favorite example is the secret agent fist fighting on the speeding train. If you understand the laws of motion, it doesn’t matter if the bad guy you are fighting is stronger. I love that there is literally a way to fight smarter not harder. And as we all know, one can hardly be a secret agent a week without getting in a fight on top of a train.

#4 – Several reviews have referred to your book as ‘part-memoir’. How have you used memoir in your book?

I start each chapter with a bit about how I learned the physics concept in Catholic school. It made it easier to explain gravity, entropy, etc… by going back to how and when I learned it. Also, it was great material. I’m sure I wasn’t the only high school student who imagined atoms having sex when ionic bonding was discussed.

#5 – Are you working on any new projects/books you can tell us about?

My wonderful editor at Perigee-Penguin is open to looking at my next idea. I’d like to write about engineering and what it means to engineer your life. The best way to do that might be to write about my college experience – learning to play bass in a band while studying mechanical engineering. I had some truly kooky professors that could be just as much fun to write about as were the Sisters of St. Joseph.

[Image Credit: Alicia J Rose, from Author’s Homepage ]

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