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

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Staff Reviews

Tracy and Paul's joint September 2014 pick
what if? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe

What if a former NASA roboticist found a way to talk about scientific facts and principles by answering crazy, silly questions and illustrating the responses with stick-figure cartoons? And what if he was so good at this that thousands of devoted fans couldn’t help but laugh out loud as they read his creatively constructed, scientific answers?
Creator of the popular website xkcd, Randall Munroe brings intelligence and wit to the printed page with what if? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. Appropriate for everyone from tweens to adults, what if? will have you following friends and family around the house so you can read them excerpts from the book. You’ll learn how much Force power Yoda can really output, and “what would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent the speed of light.” (Nothing good.) You’ll wonder why the science classes you took in school were nothing like this. And you’ll consider emailing xkcd to ask when Munroe’s next book is coming out.

— From Paul Wenzel


From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have an enormous, dedicated following, as do his deeply researched answers to his fans' strangest questions. The queries he receives range from merely odd to downright diabolical: - What if I took a swim in a spent-nuclear-fuel pool? - Could you build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns? - What if a Richter 15 earthquake hit New York City? - Are fire tornadoes possible? His responses are masterpieces of clarity and wit, gleefully and accurately explaining everything from the relativistic effects of a baseball pitched at near the speed of light to the many horrible ways you could die while building a periodic table out of all the actual elements. The book features new and never-before-answered questions, along with the most popular answers from the xkcd website. What If? is an informative feast for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780544272996
ISBN-10: 0544272994
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Date: September 2nd, 2014
Pages: 320
Language: English