What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (Hardback)
  • What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (Hardback)

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (Hardback)

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Hardback 320 Pages
Published: 04/09/2014

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From the creator of the wildly popular xkcd.com, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask.

Millions visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions: How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British Empire? When will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than living? How many humans would a T Rex rampaging through New York need to eat a day?

In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations and consults nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.

Publisher: John Murray Press
ISBN: 9781848549579
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 477 g
Dimensions: 206 x 163 x 30 mm

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 *
Thoughtful, scientific, and highly entertaining * PARADE *
If you're the kind of person whose brain whizzes with questions, Munroe's book may calm the noise. He's done all the hard work for you * SHORTLIST *
XKCD is nerd royalty, the alpha dork, there's no geek more widely cited and loved * BEN GOLDACRE, author of BAD SCIENCE *
It's totally brilliant and everyone who matters already knows that! * TIM HARFORD, THE UNDERCOVER ECONOMIST *
Education should aim to teach people to reason confidently about problems that they have never come across before. This book is a great deal of fun, and a masterclass in such reasoning. Like all the best lessons, you only realise you've learnt something once you've finished it * The Economist *
Dangerously absorbing . . . if you have ever been gripped by an insatiable, preposterous intellectual curiosity (regardless of actual scientific knowledge), I could not think of a better book to keep you from doing that essay for an extra hour or two * Varsity *
The reader is left constantly subject to outbursts of laughter, lin gering doubts concerning the sanity of the human race, and an ever-growing fascination with the way our world and the universe works . . . Though science geeks will be the first to acknowledge Munroe's greatness, even people suffering from a chronic hatred towards anything concerned with math will find the humour and absurdity of What If? hard to resist * The Student *
Funny and fascinating: brilliant for dinner with mates * Graeme le Saux *
It will satisfy the curious and arouse curiosity in anyone who's not - and it's got great jokes * Irish Times *
An essential holiday companion * Nature *

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“There's a lot of stuff on that internet...”

Randall Munroe may not be a name you are familiar with but you may well have heard of the webcomic he created at xkcd.com. This book has come out of the many odd things his fans have asked him – the questions are... More

Hardback edition
1 similar book recommended
Helpful? Upvote 67

“An irreverent, frequently hilarious and near-forensic collection of highly scientific answers to inane or idiotic questions.”

XKCD is a webcomic with a difference. Usually populated by stick figures, it’s a highly intelligent and often thoughtful comic that deals near-exclusively in mathematical concepts and scientific theories. If all this... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 52

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