## Preface

The preface is my favorite part of the book. Even people who hate physics and fear math like it. And cats adore it because it affirms their superiority. A delightfully relevant “Hobbes and Calvin” cartoon sets the tone.

Fizyx For Felines |

Preface
Carl Friedrich Gauss There’s no question that mathematics, physics, and cats are all royalty. But, unlike the brilliant mathematical formulae for which he is so famous
Cats are natural scientists. They possess an overabundance of the same sense of curiosity that has led to the greatest scientific discoveries throughout the ages. Physics being the queen of the sciences, and cats being the queen of the animal kingdom, it is not at all surprising that cats are particularly inclined to study this field of science.
Aspiring felines have attempted to use some of the more readily available standard Physics texts. Especially the easier "Physics for Biologists" ones – not out of any inherent intellectual laziness, but rather because cats are nine times more likely than humans to be interested in the Life Sciences; unfortunately, albeit quite understandably, they have been turned off by the biologist’s penchant for feline experimentation and dissection. And while the "Physics for Poets" texts have undoubtedly appealed to the poetic feline nature, cats, being very precise creatures, have found them disturbingly lacking in mathematical precision. On the other hand, being highly intuitive, cats do not need the typical physics majors’ long expository textbooks, overstuffed with explanations, applications, examples, and exercises. Clearly, what has been missing is a mathematically precise survey of classical and modern physics, Prerequisites
The main prerequisite for this text is having inquisitive whiskers, a logical tail, and a feline personality, or loving someone who does. Readers who merely love someone who loves someone who does are also welcome, but that’s as far as it goes. Mathematically, a rudimentary understanding of calculus is occasionally helpful, but basic algebra is sufficient for most of the text. Sections that require knowledge of calculus are marked with the calico cat icon shown in Figure P-2(a); they may be skipped without sacrificing understanding of the remaining material. Readers whose calculus skills are lacking may wish to consult
Features
Most physics textbooks contain literally thousands of exercises for the reader. However, we understand that cats simply do not have the time for so much work. Humans typically need only eight hours of sleep a day, and college students don’t need any, whereas the minimum daily requirement of sleep for felines is 13-16 hours Almost all of the examples have been chosen with the feline reader exclusively in mind. Most apply directly to your life in an obvious way: chasing mice; being chased by dogs; playing with balls and strings; analyzing canned catfood; using pet flap doors;
Occasionally, an example that appeals more to humans is necessarily included, such as the ice skater in Chapter 1. This situation is due to the creative limits of the non-feline author (who, for example, knows of no recreational feline activity involving ejecting objects on virtually frictionless surfaces). We hope it can be remedied with ideas To accommodate the occasional non-feline reader, we have supplied another icon, shown in Figure P-2(d), marking the places where we omit steps required by beings of finite wisdom. Its presence is intended to allay discouragement when a conclusion is not humanly obvious. The last icon we employ, the stretching Cheshire Cat shown in Figure P-2(e), marks places that require a different kind of stretch than the ability to do higher mathematics – that of the imagination.
A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn’t there. Charles Darwin A physicist is a mathematician Norman Packard Aside to Human Readers
Some people have questioned whether this text is really written for cats, pointing out that the cats they know neither read books nor do mathematics. Rather than give this question the lack of attention it merits, we will quote renowned zoologist Desmond Morris: “It may be a cat physically, but mentally it is both feline and human”.
0.5 – Stephen Hawking, "the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein", called Gauss "unquestionably the greatest mathematician of all time" on page 563 of 1 – This book by Ralph P. Boas, Jr., published by the Mathematical Association of America in 1996, was based on the seminal paper “A Contribution to the Mathematical Theory of Big Game Hunting” by H. W. O. Pétard in the
2 – Pierre-Louis Lions, who won the most prestigious prize in mathematics, a Fields Medal, in 1994, and his father, after whom the Jacques-Louis Lions Prize for Applied Mathematics was named in 2003<return-to-text> 3 – If you are having trouble obtaining this text, it may be because it is currently out of print, having never gone into print since its conception in 1979. Please do not confuse it with the more recent book of the same title by Amdahl and Loats, which would have been more aptly titled 4 – "Calcy" is pronounced "Kal-kee". <return-to-text> 5 – http://www.cat-olholics.com/sleep.html. <return-to-text> 6 – A reviewer’s suggestion of projectile vomiting of hairballs while skidding across freshly waxed hardwood floors has already been rejected by the author on aesthetic grounds. <return-to-text> 7 – This conjecture is based on the fact that the average time interval between editions of popular textbooks is 3.5 years these days.<return-to-text> 8 – The context out of which this quote is taken is page 4 of the book 9 – "Memoirs of Schrödinger’s Cat.".Vol.49, No.11:pg.11. ©1996 American Institute of Physics.<return-to-text>
© All Contents Copyright 2006-2010, Skona Brittain |

Elizabethsaid, on 26 January, 2010 at 12:29My goodness! I’ve been a fan of Physics for Cats since… when? All those many years ago in that adult ed class. One of my favorite projects, in fact. That was Santa Barbara and now I’m in New Mexico. I have the same cat. Or rather, she has me. I think of her as more a liberal arts kind of gal, but she was just now reading Chapter One over my shoulder and she said, “Mew,” which I think meant: “How do you know I didn’t want to go to MIT instead of lounging around in that garden on the Mesa?” Onward!

Janet D.said, on 26 January, 2010 at 20:06I finally found some free time to read your preface, and I’ve been laughing at (or should I say ‘with’) it! Love it so far! I’d like to read the rest…do you incorporate the cat into the physics examples or something like that? “If we drop two cats off the roof of a single-story building and one weighs 10 pounds and the other 7, which cat will reach the ground and get to her litter box first?”

skonabrittainsaid, on 26 January, 2010 at 20:34Thanks for your feedback. Of course cats will star in the examples, but dropping them off the roof would be more likely to appear in a physics for dogs book! Interestingly, the experiment you mention is a cross between Galileo’s and Descartes’, and the latter is mentioned near the beginning of Chapter 2, so stay tuned!