Physicist Speaks On ‘No Wonder You Wonder!’

Cover of ‘No Wonder You Wonder!’ by Claude Phipps. Phipps will speak Thursday, June 15 at Mesa Public Library. Courtesy photo

Claude Phipps


What holds a satellite up while it goes around the earth? Why can’t you travel back in time? These are just two of the many questions explored by Claude Phipps in his book “No Wonder You Wonder!” published by Springer International in 2016. Phipps will speak at Mesa Public Library, 7 p.m., Thursday, June 15 in the Upstairs Rotunda. The talk will be followed by a book-signing.

Phipps has degrees from MIT and Stanford, and has spent his career in plasma physics and lasers, working for the national laboratories and then founding his own company, Photonics Associates LLC.

Written for a general audience, this book is in the top one-half percent for sales of physics books at Springer. Phipps’ professional writing, with more than 200 publications, has titles like “High Power Laser Ablation” and “Micro Laser Plasma Thrusters for Small Satellites,” but in this book he returns to those really big questions that fascinated him as a youngster and as a student of physics. “No Wonder You Wonder” was created for anyone who is curious. The book is illustrated with 233 color illustrations. Phipps was really pleased with the way the illustrations worked with the text.

“You don’t need algebra, calculus, or a lot of equations or technical buzzwords. Too many people have been soured on science by science teachers who have made simple concepts seem complex,” Phipps said.

One reviewer from the French space agency said “From beginning to end, and with laugh after laugh, I enjoyed every single word of this remarkable book. Phipps is a hell of a good writer, and the kind of physics teacher that I would have loved as a young student. “No Wonder You Wonder” can be engrossing for anyone with a bit of curiosity, not just the scientific minded.” Christophe Bonnal, Chief Engineer, CNES.

The Authors Speak Series is a monthly event featuring local and regional authors speaking about their writing on a variety of subjects such as local and state history, travel, outdoor activities, fiction, Native American history and culture, poetry and more. The series is funded by the Friends of the Los Alamos County Library System. The talks are free and begin at 7 p.m., on the fourth Thursday of each month, followed by the opportunity to meet the authors and enjoy refreshments. For more information about library events, call 662-8253 or visit the Events page on the Library website,