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Their Arrows Will Darken the Sun

, 248 pages

36 halftones, 54 line drawings

March 2011



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Their Arrows Will Darken the Sun

The Evolution and Science of Ballistics

The science of ballistics has a long history and starts with one question: How does a projectile move through the air? Even before physicists worked that one out, military engineers had been tinkering with ballistic devices for centuries. The trebuchet of the Middle Ages has given way to rocket power, and the science of ballistics has evolved to match the technology. Mark Denny’s survey covers this dynamic subject from prehistory to the weapons of tomorrow.

Taking the bang-whiz-thud approach, Denny first talks about internal ballistics—Bang!—from before gunpowder to the development of modern firearms. External ballistics—Whiz!—are next, with discussions about short- and long-range trajectories. Denny’s lesson ends with a Thud!—an explanation of terminal ballistics.

Throughout, Denny conveys applicable physics principles in a way that will appeal to technology buffs and ballistics enthusiasts alike. His fun and factual explanations are free of complicated equations; notes cover the key aspects of ballistics physics for the more technically inclined.

Denny has perfected this engaging balance of science and story. For study or hobby, Their Arrows Will Darken the Sun is an entertaining guide to the world of ballistics.

After earning a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Edinburgh University, Mark Denny pursued research at Oxford University from 1981 to 1984, and then moved into a career in industry. He is the author of Ingenium: Five Machines That Changed the World; Blip, Ping, and Buzz: Making Sense of Radar and Sonar; Float Your Boat! The Evolution and Science of Sailing; Froth! The Science of Beer; and Super Structures: The Science of Bridges, Buildings, Dams, and Other Feats of Engineering, all published by Johns Hopkins. Denny is now semi-retired and lives on Vancouver Island.

"Denny is a physicist who has written several science-related books for general audiences... Much of the book is written in a chatty style, often in the first person."

"Perhaps the most useful book on ballistics for the layman ever."

"For a scientist, Denny's approach is delightfully down to earth."

"Denny's writing is anything but dry and boring. He adeptly explains complex subject matter and does so with relatively simple language and minimal use of symbolic notation."

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