So far, I like the author's "voice." Readable, without dumbing down or overcompkicating the information. Her enjoyment if the field comes through:
Knowing about some basic bits of physics turns the world into a toybox.
Too soon ffor me to tell if I'll learn lots of new stuff, have twists/viewpoints to old knowledge made re-interesting, or find this to just be recycling some popular physics I already knew. The other posts in my dashboard have caught my interest and it sounds promising.
So, this finally came through the library waitlist.
I actually wanted to read it for the booklikes book club The Flat Book Society but looks like that ended January 31 with their next book not starting until next month.
Oh well. Still want to read it because the posts and discussions made it sound interesting. I still have other library books and borrows due back soon that will be read first. And I'll likely read this nonfiction book in chapters/pieces to better digest.
The next bookclub read in March will be: I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong
TITLE: Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
AUTHOR: Helen Czerski
DATE PUBLISHED: 2016
In the author's own words:
"this book is about linking the little things we see every day with the big world we live in. It's a romp through the physical world, showing how playing with things like popcorn, coffee stains and refrigerator magnets can shed light on Scott's expeditions, medical tests and solving out future energy needs."
This book is definitely a "romp" through the physical world, managing to be entertaining, energetic, accessible and educational at the same time, without bogging the reader down with too much formal detail, lengthy explanations or equations.
Czerski begins each chapter with something small and familiar that we will have seen many times but may never have thought about, and uses it to explain the relevant fascinating physics phenomenon. By the end of each chapter, the reader will see the same patterns explaining some of the most important science and technology of our time. This book provides a good deal of basic general knowledge and shows how physics laws we observe on Earth are applicable universally.
Czerski has a chatty, informal style of writing interspersed with personal anecdotes she usually uses to make a relevant point (which I didn't find as annoying as the ubiquitous author interviews and fashion commentary found in other books). Each chapter covers a theme or physics law (e.g. waves, electromagnetism, surface tension, gravity) and then discusses several useful, common or interesting real-world applications in bite-sized chunks to demonstrate the concept - everything from popcorn, fluorescent scorpions, floating eggs, toast, sloshing tea, bubbles, mail rockets, elephant trunks, steam locomotives, candles, ocean and air currents to Sputnik, the Hubble Telescope, and wi-fi etc. I found her inclusion of experiments that anyone can do at home (e.g. all the egg experiments, the raisins in the fizzy bottle, pH indicator cabbage and the toast experiment) to be a nice addition to a general physics popular science book.
Czerski has an infectious passion for physics. While her explanations aren't terribly detailed; they are accessible, entertaining, understandable, not overly simplified, and extremely fascinating. The examples she chooses are also different - I doubt readers will look at their toasters, tea or eggs in quite the same way again!
I found Storm in a Teacup made for an enjoyable reading experience, providing information that was new to me about how and why ordinary "stuff", and ultimately, the world works.
-Science and the City by Laurie Winkless
-Atoms Under the Floorboards by Christ Woodford
-Zoom by Bob Berman
-The Quantum Age by Brian Clegg
-Structures or Why Things Don't Fall Down by J.E. Gordon
-Rhythms of Life by Russell Foster & Leon Kreitzman