|Jearl Walker, professor of physics at Cleveland State University, received his BS in physics from MIT in 1967 and his PhD in physics from University of Maryland in 1973. He arrived at CSU in September 1973, greatly relieved to have been hired at one of only two schools nationwide with a tenure possibility. He has enjoyed CSU ever since.
His book The Flying Circus of Physics was first published 41 years ago and was translated into at least 10 languages. The second edition was published in 2006 and is still being translated into other languages. For 16 years he toured his Flying Circus talk throughout the U.S. and Canada, introducing such physics stunts as the bed-of-nails demonstration and the walking-on-hot-coals demonstration to countless physics teachers, who then proceeded to hurt themselves when they repeated the stunts in their own classrooms. These talks led to his PBS television series Kinetic Karnival that was rerun nationally for years and which landed him a local Emmy, now proudly displayed in his first-floor bathroom. Since then he was on the Canadian radio Quirks and Quarks weekly for 11 years and, later, on the Discovery Channel Canada show Daily Planet numerous times.
During his 13 years with Scientific American magazine, he wrote 152 articles for The Amateur Scientist section, which were translated into at least 9 languages world wide and had over 2 million readers each month. His topics ranged from the physics of judo to the physics of béarnaise sauce and lemon meringue pies.
In 1990, he took over the textbook Fundamentals of Physics from David Halliday and Robert Resnick, the textbook he used in his first year at MIT. Since then he has published eight editions of the book, with 18 translations and selling over one million copies in North America and perhaps three or four million copies world wide (it is the number one book world wide in its market). He has lost count of the number of times he has been on television and radio and interviewed for newspapers and magazines. However, he clearly remembers the 20 minutes he spent performing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where he stuck his fingers into molten lead without losing any of them, to the great relief of his mother who was at home watching the show.