Title: Physics

Photographer: Berenice Abbott
Author: Francis L. Friedman (coordinator)
Publisher: D. C. Heath and Company
Designer: Not listed


Image Title: front cover: Multiple exposure of bouncing golf ball (from 'Science Pictures'), ca. 1959
Photo Genre: Scientific (strobe)
Book Genre: Textbook

Between 1939 and 1961, Berenice Abbott produced a series of photographs demonstrating basic scientific principles. The 'Science Pictures', as they were called, led to her being hired to photographically illustrate a new high school physics textbook. Many of these photographs were later published in the books Magnet, Motion, and The Attrractive Universe, all in collaboration with the writer Evans G. Valens.
This 1960 first edition of Physics is almost certainly the textbook for which Abbott made her science pictures. Although the books stated publisher is D.C. Heath, it was produced under the aegis of the Educational Services, Inc. (ESI), Physical Science Coordinating Committee, which oversaw an enormous collaborative effort between scientists and academics on both the high school and college level. The book has no chief author, but credit for coordinating the project is given to Dr. Francis L. Friedman, a Professor of Physics at MIT.
Both the front and back cover photographs are by Berenice Abbott, and though she is not specifically credited with making them (these two images are well-known enough to leave no doubt as to their creator), she is mentioned by Dr. Friedman as one of the books primary photographers (in collaboration with James Strickland), and is also on the Contributors list.*
The cover design, also anonymous, is simple and straightforwardly modernist, as one might expect from a 1960 science textbook. For my money, it does the job quite nicely.
An interesting footnote: The books preface is written by James R. Kilian, a former President of MIT, the Chair of ESI's Board of Trustees, and the co-author of Dr. Harold Edgerton's important photography monograph, Moments of Vision. KB

*'Physics', D.C. Heath publishers 1960, Appendix 3, pp. 643 & 646

Multiple Views :

Hmmm Physics... Looks like

Hmmm Physics...
Looks like an interesting book. I used to be obsessed with Physics and I've read lots of Physics book (not this one though), but it didn't last for long. After I graduated from high school I lost most of my interest in Physics, and I don't know if it'll ever come back.

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I must agree that this book

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