# WIRES & WATTS: Understanding and Using Electricity

By

## KIRKUS REVIEW

Math successfully explains the basic principles of electricity--the rudimentary concepts of voltage, current, resistance, and power--by showing readers how to construct electronic circuits and devices utilizing these circuits. No knowledge of electricity is assumed; however, construction of the circuit components requires some facility with carpentry (drilling and cutting wood and sheet metal) and soldering. This experience also would provide an understanding of the few unexplained terms. Also, gathering the materials used to make the circuits and devices requires some resourcefulness: Math suggests asking telephone repairmen, lumber yard workers, and burglar alarm installers for scrap material. The ""actual working models"" that are constructed by the reader-experimenter are somewhat boy-scouty in themselves (e.g., a dollhouse lighting system), though the practice should equip students to build other, more useful devices. Math's style is stiff but easy to follow, and the text is accompanied by simple, instructive circuit diagrams and drawings of components. As he proceeds from ""ultra-simple"" devices (e.g., a lemon battery) to quite complex ones (e.g., an electric motor), Math decreases the detail in the descriptions, finally leaving ""Construction details . . . to the experimenter."" Thus the book evolves from a cookbook approach to a demanding, initiative-requiring guide. This progression jibes with Math's desire to "". . . rekindle the creative spirit . . ."" and should well serve anyone interested in what goes on between the two prongs of an electric plug.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1981
Publisher: Scribners