Tiger drives sales of physics book right out the back window


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

It’s been a terrible week for Tiger Woods, but the golf star’s moment of madness at the steering wheel has brought a surge in sales for a book written by a science writer teaching at Sussex University.

A series of pictures released by Florida police of Woods’s wrecked SUV includes a shot of the back seat, complete with waterbottle, towel and furled umbrella. But there among the shards of tinted glass in the footwell sits a well-thumbed copy of a paperback with the golf-appropriate title clearly visible: Get a Grip on Physics.

This incidental role in Woods’s domestic drama has been enough to create a rush to get hold of the book, with the title’s sales rank on Amazon.com jumping from 396,224 earlier in the week to a high spotted yesterday by the Wall Street Journal of 2,268.

Speaking in a break between lectures this morning, the author, John Gribbin, said he was “delighted that anyboy’s reading my books. I just wish it was one that’s still in print.”

Part of a planned series on subject areas which was cancelled after poor sales, Get a Grip on Physics is an illustrated introduction to modern physics first published in 1999 which tells the story of developments in physics since the 1950s, charting the discovery of the four forces of nature, the search for grand unified theories and the beginnings of string theory…

Best known for In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat, an exploration of the mysteries of quantum physics still selling well 25 years after it was first published, Gribbin has amassed a back catalogue which ranges widely over modern science. His latest book is In Search of the Multiverse, which charts ideas about alternative realities from Hugh Everett’s many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics to recent developments in M-theory pointing to a landscape of alternative universes in string theory.

Perhaps Woods will see if he can find a universe in which none of this ever happened,” suggested Gribbin.

Har!

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