What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD 'a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language' which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science debate. 'My friend and I were arguing about what would happen if a bullet got struck by lightning, and we agreed that you should resolve it . . . ' He liked these questions so much that he started up What If.

If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive?

How dangerous is it, really, to be in a swimming pool in a thunderstorm?

If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce?

What if everyone only had one soulmate?

When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British empire?

How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?

What would happen if the moon went away?

In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, studded with memorable cartoons and infographics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion. Far more than a book for geeks, WHAT IF: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions explains the laws of science in operation in a way that every intelligent reader will enjoy and feel much the smarter for having read.

Title:What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Reviews

  • Steve Alexander

    This is one of the most entertaining books I have ever read. And I have read over 10 books....

  • Patrick

    I've been a reader of XKCD for ages. Not just a reader, a fan. A big goey, geeky fan. So much of a fan that when I heard about this book, I went so far as to abuse my power as an author to get an Adva...

  • Manny

    Q: What would happen if every geek in the world received a copy of What If tomorrow morning?A: Actually, less than you'd think.First, a little background about this book. If you're a geek, it's unputd...

  • Miranda Reads

    Trying to thoroughly answer a stupid question can take you to some pretty interesting places. Randall Munroe, ex-NASA employee and author of the wildly popular webcomic XKCD, decides to look at seve...

  • Felicia

    AMAZING BOOK! I love love love it and frankly, there's no better book to read on the toilet. Off the toilet too, but I learned so much and the writing is so engaging and entertaining and just MARVELOU...

  • Valerie

    My evil plan of reading this book in small doses aloud to my students during math class has worked. Several of them have bought their own copies, and they are, I believe, planning to use their math sk...

  • Nataliya

    “But it turns out that trying to thoroughly answer a stupid question can take you to some pretty interesting places.”Randall Munroe of xkcd.com fame (a former physicist and NASA robotics employee ...

  • Diane

    This book opens with the best disclaimer I have ever seen:"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 cat...

  • Paul Bryant

    Mr Munroe includes some “weird and worrying” questions from his website’s inbox which he presents without attempting to answer – one favourite was:If you saved a whole life’s worth of kissin...

  • Riku Sayuj

    Change.Org Petition: Despicable MunroeThe International Astronomical Union recently named an asteroid after Randall Munroe; asteroid 4942 Munroe is big enough to cause a mass extinction if it ever hit...