What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

July 20, 2019 - Comment

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

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.

Comments

Anonymous says:

A total joy for anyone with an enquiring mind and interest in science I love this book! It is both hilariously funny, and thought provoking, and educational all at the same time as well as giving you all sorts of “did you know” stories to bore your friends and family for months!Its a total dip-in book. The short chapters (3-6 pages) are pretty much random, and cover all areas of science. I’ve learnt stuf about genetics that I never realised, as well as radioactivity, the periodical table and much more besides, as well as chuckling away and…

Anonymous says:

Brilliant! I bought this book for my husband as a birthday present and he absolutely loved it!He has always had an interest in the sciences and studied maths at degree level, so I was a little nervous that this book might be childish or too simplistic. However, this has not been the case at all. It has covered enough complex bits to keep him interested and uses plenty of brilliant witty humour to make it a highly entertaining read. I think I’ll be reading it next!

Anonymous says:

Absolute genius. Please read it. Genius Book. Randall Munroe is witty and very intellectual when it comes to giving his answers. You don’t require a degree of any sort to read this book, all the concepts are explained in a very understandable way usually through the use of analogies or metaphor. He also demonstrates his answers through his cartoons; a very clever visual. And yes, they are genuinely scientific. It’s no “ifs” and “perhaps” and “guesses”, using real data and real scientific facts, what is…

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