Physics of Societal Issues

Calculations on National Security, Environment, and Energy

  • David Hafemeister

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. David Hafemeister
    Pages 1-41
  3. David Hafemeister
    Pages 43-76
  4. David Hafemeister
    Pages 77-105
  5. David Hafemeister
    Pages 107-148
  6. David Hafemeister
    Pages 149-200
  7. David Hafemeister
    Pages 201-234
  8. David Hafemeister
    Pages 235-275
  9. David Hafemeister
    Pages 277-329
  10. David Hafemeister
    Pages 331-348
  11. David Hafemeister
    Pages 349-383
  12. David Hafemeister
    Pages 385-408
  13. David Hafemeister
    Pages 409-430
  14. David Hafemeister
    Pages 431-463
  15. David Hafemeister
    Pages 465-506
  16. David Hafemeister
    Pages 507-541
  17. David Hafemeister
    Pages 543-575
  18. Back Matter
    Pages 577-668

About this book


This book provides the reader with essential tools needed to analyze complex societal issues and demonstrates the transition from physics to modern-day laws and treaties. This second edition features new equation-oriented material and extensive data sets drawing upon current information from experts in their fields. Problems to challenge the reader and extend discussion are presented on three timely



•        National Security: Weapons, Offense, Defense, Verification, Nuclear Proliferation, Terrorism

•        Environment: Air/Water, Nuclear, Climate Change, EM Fields/Epidemiology

•        Energy: Current Energy Situation, Buildings, Solar Buildings, Renewable  Energy, Enhanced End-Use Efficiency, Transportation, Economics


Praise for the first edition:

"This insight is needed in Congress and the Executive Branch. Hafemeister, a former Congressional fellow with wide Washington experience, has written a book for physicists, chemists and engineers who want to learn science and policy on weapons, energy, and the environment. Scientists who want to make a difference will want this book."

Richard Scribner, first Director, Congressional Science and

Engineering Fellow Program, AAAS


"Hafemeister shows how much one can understand about nuclear weapons and missile issues through simple back-of-the-envelope calculations. He also provides compact explanations of the partially successful attempts that have been made over the past 60 years to control these weapons of mass destruction. Hopefully, Physics of Societal Issues will help interest a new generation of physicists in continuing this work."

Frank von Hippel, Professor, Princeton, former Assistant Director,

National Security, White House, OSTP


"Energy policy must be quantitative. People who don't calculate economic tradeoffs often champion simplistic hardware. ‘The solution is more... nuclear power, or electric cars, or photovoltaics, etc.’ Some simple physics will show that the true solution matches supply and demand as an ‘integrated resource plan.’ Physics of Societal Issues is a good place to begin this journey."

Arthur Rosenfeld, former California Energy Commissioner,

Professor-emeritus, U. of California-Berkeley


Air and Water Pollution Arms Control Electromagnetic Radiation Energy Planning Enery and Environment Chronology Enhanced End-Use Energy Efficiency From Physics to Treaty Missile Defenses National Security Text Nuclear Arms Chronology Nuclear Proliferation Nuclear Technologies Nuclear Weapons Treaties Physics and Climate Change Physics and Energy Policy Physics and Environment Physics and National Security Physics and Public Policy Physics and Society Radioactive Pollution Solar Buildings

Authors and affiliations

  • David Hafemeister
    • 1
  1. 1.Physics DepartmentCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA

Bibliographic information