The hardback developed a cult following and reprinted twice within 2 months of publication 'You have to be very dedicated to science to dunk and eat 140 biscuits with a stainless steel tube thrust up your nose, chewing for a specified count, while a colleague presses buttons to record and analyse the results. This is how people win IgNobel prizes and indeed physicist Len Fisher is an Iglaureate. What is fascinating in Fisher's book is the sheer number of mysteries inherent in daily life' New Scientist '[Fisher] has the refreshing enthusiasm of a kid with a chemistry set. For him, Physics is Fu
Born in 1942, Len Fisher received a PhD from the University of New South Wales. He has written around eighty scientific papers and book chapters on surface science, food science, chemical engineering, scientific instrumentation and the applications of physics to biology. He is currently honorary research fellow at the University of Bristol.
Scientists are constantly trying to make science accessible to the general public, but rarely are they as successful as physicist Fisher (Univ. of Bristol). Never taking himself too seriously (he is winner of Harvard University's 1999 IgNobel Prize for his work on the physics of cookie dunking), Fisher covers topics from the best way to use various hand tools to what makes a boomerang return to the thrower to how to dunk a cookie in coffee without losing a soggy mass into the depths of the cup. Every chapter contains a discussion of a different physical concept and can be taken individually or as part of the whole. Fisher's choice of topics will no doubt keep the reader engaged, as there are plenty of practical applications discussed, and he manages to walk that narrow line between frustrating complexity and patronizing simplification. A fabulously fun and interesting read (don't miss the additional anecdotes in the "Notes and References" section), this book is recommended for all popular science collections.-Marcia R. Franklin, Academy Coll. Lib., Bloomington, MN Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"Nutty science - we love it. Why bother figuring it out when you can try it out? Len Fisher even explains the physics of sex - think rocket launcher." THE TIMES "Full marks to Mr Fisher for at least trying to make science fun." THE DAILY MAIL "This erudite book carries its learning lightly. It is difficult not to be charmed." TIMES HIGHER EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT "Wryly funny but informative book... well worth an afternoon of anyone's time." FOCUS "Too many popular science book lack any practical output... Fisher is different. His explanations are directed at the important things: how to boil a perfect egg, the physics of sex, and why some vegetables absorb more gravy than others." THE HERALD
Science is a way of life more than a set of answers, according to Fisher, an English physical chemist and Ig Nobel Prize winner. In his delightful book, he uses " `the science of the familiar' as a key to open a door to science, to show what it feels like to be a scientist, and to view from an insider's perspective what scientists do, why they do it, and how they go about it." Each of his nine chapters focuses on relatively mundane affairs-the best way to dunk a doughnut, how to catch a fly ball, how simple tools function, how to throw a boomerang, how an egg and a sperm manage to unite to form a new life-and each poses scientific questions about the underlying premises and principles involved. Real scientific lessons are embedded in each chapter (Fisher nicely explains the three laws of thermodynamics, for example, as well as the difference between heat and temperature), and the thoroughly engaging anecdotes serve to bring the process of science and the people who conduct scientific investigations to life. He successfully shows how science influences all aspects of our lives and how the "consequences of any particular scientific discovery are often not obvious, even to the discoverer." This view is increasingly important as politicians regularly favor applied research over the pure research so essential for meaningful progress. Fisher's humor and readability could go a long way toward making his perspective acceptable to a wide public. 70 illus., and charts. Scientific American Book Club alternate selection. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.