- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: John Murray; 01 edition (28 October 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781848549562
- ASIN: 1848549563
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 209 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Paperback – Kindle eBook, 4 Sep 2014
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With this book and with XKCD, you're a kid with a chemistry set all over again. [Randall Munroe's] enthusiasm for all things scientific is infectious . . . required reading for grown-ups, it's just fun to remember that science is really, really cool (REGISTER)
Smart answers to silly questions: Randall Munroe reveals all (GUARDIAN)
What If? maintains a delightfully free-wheeling tone throughout, especially when complicated calculations lead to whimsical results. Despite all the hard facts and gigantic numbers, it never feels like a textbook-and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to enjoy it (ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY)
The best bathroom book you'll ever buy...Munroe takes inane, useless and often quite pointless questions asked by real humans (mostly sent to him through his website), and turns them into beautiful expositions on the impossible that illuminate the furthest reaches, almost to the limits, of the modern sciences .The first chapter, "Q. What would happen if the Earth and all terrestrial objects suddenly stopped spinning, but the atmosphere retained its velocity?" ends with the anthropomorphized moon worrying over the state of the Earth, and, with the gravity generated by its own rotation around the Earth, saving our dying planet. The physics are real; so is the emotional content. . . The answers are all illustrated with xkcd's trademark stick figures.. . . . and these are eminently approachable (NEWSWEEK)
Brilliant (ROLLING STONE)
What If? includes old favorites, new inquiries and the mix of expert research and accessible wit that has made Munroe a favorite among both geeks and laymen (TIME)
Munroe's brilliant What-If? column-which features scientifically rigorous, utterly absurd answers to ridiculous hypotheticals-has been on the bestseller lists since it was announced in March. Today, it hits shelves and: It. Is. A. Triumph (BOINGBOING)
[What If?] has solved my annual birthday-present and holiday-gift dilemmas for a large group of people . . . What makes Munroe's work so fantastic is a combination of two elements: his commitment to trying to answer even the weirdest question with solid science, and his undeniable sense of humour. So, here's a "What If?" from me: If everyone on the planet simultaneously bought a copy of this book, stopped what they were doing and read it cover to cover, would modern civilization and our global economy collapse? It's worth trying the experiment. (HUFFINGTON POST)
For the record, I'm loving XKCD's What If -- 'Dear Abby for mad scientists' (NEIL GAIMAN)
Munroe has hit on a wonderful form of science and engineering communication that can do so much-extolling the value of analytical thinking, examining data, and doing back-of-the-envelope calculations-while entertaining readers at the same time . . . an incredibly fun book with quirky, hand-drawn pictures (AMERICAN SCIENTIST) --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
Science's most intriguing questions answered by the web's favourite writer, the genius behind xkcd.com.
Munroe's hilarious and compelling answers explain everything from the odds of meeting your one true soulmate to how many humans a rampaging T-Rex would need to eat a day.--This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
About the Author
Randall Munroe is the author of the popular webcomic xkcd and the science question-and-answer blog What If? Randall was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, and grew up outside Richmond. After graduating with a degree in physics from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, he got a job building robots at NASA's Langley Research Center. In 2006 he left NASA to draw comics on the Internet full time, supporting himself through the sale of xkcd t-shirts, prints, posters, and books. He likes candlelight dinners and long walks on the beach--very long walks. Lots of people say they like long walks on the beach, but then they get out on the beach, and after just an hour or two, they say they're getting tired. Bring a tent. He lives in Massachusetts.
Wil Wheaton is an actor, voice artist, author, and award-winning audiobook narrator. Among his movie credits are Stand by Me and Toy Soldiers. His many television credits include Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Big Bang Theory, and Generator Rex. As a narrator of more than a dozen audiobooks, he has twice won the prestigious Audie Award, twice been a finalist for the Audie, and earned an Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine.--This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
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"Do not try any of this at home. The author of this book is an Internet cartoonist, not a health or safety expert. He likes it when things catch fire or explode, which means he does not have your best interests in mind. The publisher and the author disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting, directly or indirectly, from information contained in this book."
That disclaimer really sets the tone for this fun book about science: Dangerous ideas ahead, folks! Don't get too close -- these things could kill ya!
Randall Munroe used to work at NASA, and now he creates the webcomic XKCD (which sounds less stressful than the NASA gig). On his website, he takes "absurd hypothetical questions" from readers and tries to answer some of them. Here are some of my favorite questions in this book:
What would happen if everyone on Earth stood as close to each other as they could and jumped, everyone landing on the ground at the same instant?
If every human somehow simply disappeared from the face of the Earth, how long would it be before the last artificial light source would go out?
How long could a nuclear submarine last in orbit?
From what height would you need to drop a steak for it to be cooked when it hit the ground?
If everyone on the planet stayed away from each other for a couple of weeks, wouldn't the common cold be wiped out?
Which US state is actually flown over the most?
Is there enough energy to move the entire current human population off-planet?
How high can a human throw something?
How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?
When, if ever, will the bandwidth of the Internet surpass that of FedEx?
How quickly would the oceans drain if a circular portal 10 meters in radius leading into space were created at the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest spot in the ocean? How would the Earth change as the water was being drained?
How many Lego bricks would it take to build a bridge capable of carrying traffic from London to New York? Have that many Lego bricks been manufactured?
What would happen to the Earth if the Sun suddenly switched off?
If you are interested to know any of the answers to those questions, this book is for you! What made this so much fun, aside from the ridiculous questions, is Munroe's sense of humor. Several times I laughed out loud at his drawings and his answers, which is not something that usually happens when I'm reading about science. Oh, and be sure to read his footnotes, which have even more jokes.
I think this book would be a great gift for kids who love to ask crazy questions about how the world works. I think I would have loved it when I was 10.
It is an absolutely great book to gift to teenagers and kids (older than 9 yrs).
This is a great casual read with entertaining trivia. You might even enjoy thinking how Munroe derived certain maths in answers
I'll probably gift this book to like minded friends on birthdays. Afterall, I'm sure they won't buy this for themselves, but if they have it they'll definitely have a chuckle while reading it
We only have conversations with friends about this kind of material and often times are not accurate in our discussions, but now you can impress your friends by using Science to argue and answer amazing questions like my personal favorite- can guns be used as a rocket.
A hilarious and inspiring read!