Book Reviews

Genre: Science miscellanea

Key Stage:  KS3+

Rating: ★★★★

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, Randall Munroe (2014)

What If?‘ by Randall Munroe is a collection of ‘serious scientific answers’ to ‘absurd hypothetical questions’- as the author puts it. After graduating and working in NASA, Randall Munroe decided to start writing webcomics and answering the internet’s weird- and sometimes- worrying questions.

‘Nerd royalty’, Ben Goldacre says, and this is true.

Each small section of a Q&A is made even more engaging with the comic illustrations, and it’s evident that the author has an amazing sense of humour. It’s also very readable and has a constant flow to it, as there isn’t a lot of complicated maths/what may seem like gibberish to anyone but a scientist.

The themes vary a lot too; for example, ‘what are the odds of meeting your soulmate?’ ‘How long can you swim in a spent nuclear fuel reactor pool?’ And ‘could you make a mole of moles?’

This book would not be used for academic purposes- it’s not a science textbook, even though you might learn a lot from it.

Overall, I’d recommend this book to almost everyone, whether you’re interested in physics- or you’re just looking for a humorous non-fiction book.

Reviewer:  Muslimah Mirzababaeva, Year 7

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