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STARKVILLE, Miss.–A book praised as “a marvelously readable and level-headed explanation of basic science and how it relates to the issues” is Mississippi State’s selection for its fifth-annual common reading experience.

In a Monday [April 8] campus-wide announcement, university President Mark E. Keenum said “Physics for Future Presidents” by Richard A. Muller will be the focus for the Maroon Edition program during the 2013-14 academic year.

First published in 2008 by W.W. Norton & Co., the 384-page book is the work of a physics professor and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory senior scientist honored in 1982 with a prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, popularly known as the “genius grant.”

“Should be required reading for all informed citizens” was Publisher’s Weekly’s opinion of the book based on Muller’s highly popular course for non-science majors at the University of California, Berkeley. “The Science Behind the Headlines” is the subtitle.

“We hope that all of next fall’s incoming freshman class, and many of you, will read the book before the semester begins,” Keenum said.

“We also encourage participation in the many related activities planned during the school year, hopefully including a campus visit by Professor Muller during the first semester,” he added.

To those for whom the word “physics” might bring pause, Keenum stressed–as have scores of readers and reviewers–that the book provides a “highly readable, non-technical discussion of the science behind several major issues that will confront future U.S. presidents, business leaders and, certainly, future graduates of Mississippi State.”

Among others, Muller’s “future” topics areas include:

–Energy, particularly oil, coal and solar power;

–Nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants;

–Space, including exploration, spy satellites and GPS systems; and

–Global warming, which the author terms “perhaps the most difficult issue to face future presidents.”

Keenum said books will be provided to all incoming freshmen taking part in spring and summer orientation programs. Copies also may be obtained at the Barnes & Noble at Mississippi State bookstore, as well as from other brick-and-mortar and online outlets.

The Maroon Edition website, http://maroonedition.msstate.edu, will be providing updated information about related events and activities.

Keenum thanked members of the Maroon Edition Committee “for an excellent selection for this upcoming fifth year of our common reading program.”

To program participants, he added, “I believe you will find reading ‘Physics for Future Presidents’ time well spent.”

For more on the Maroon Edition program, contact professors Linda Morse at 662-325-7105 or lmorse@colled.msstate.edu; or Lynn Reinschmiedt at 325-3663 or rein@registrar.msstate.edu.

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