We Need To Talk About Kelvin by Marcus Chown

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We Need To Talk About Kelvin by Marcus Chown

Category: Popular Science
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A brilliantly written popular science book, showing what everyday things can tell us about the universe. Geeky people will find it fascinating and a particularly enjoyable read. Heartily recommended. Marcus Chown was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Faber and Faber
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0571244034

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Sporting the best title for a popular science book this side of Here's Looking At Euclid by Alex Bellos, Marcus Chown shows us what everyday things tell us about the universe. You'll find out how your reflection in a window shows the randomness of the universe, how the abundance of iron shows a 4.5bn degree furnace exists in space, and how most of the world's astronomers are wrong about what the darkness of night shows us.

We heartily agree with Mick O'Hare's assessment in our interview with him that Marcus Chown perfectly strikes the balance between popular and science. Quantum theory might not hurt you, but it still happens to be beyond the ken of most people. By making clear connections with everyday life, you're immediately on board, regardless of any prior scientific knowledge. The history of science and scientists fleshes out the ideas: by understanding their development, you better understand (and remember) the concepts themselves. Such are the quality of the writing and the clarity of the explanations that you'll be taken deeper into the science than you might otherwise have thought possible.

As is often the case with books of this ilk, a desire to understand the subject matter serves as a perfect filter for who's the target audience. Even if you haven't done a lick of physics since school, there's nothing that will leave you floundering here. There are challenging concepts for the layperson, plus a couple of times when you might need to backtrack for a paragraph or two, but it's well worth any effort required. There's also a particularly clear and helpful glossary, which you may well find yourself referring back to even when you've finished reading We Need To Talk About Kelvin.

It's an educational and thought-provoking book, whilst also being eminently readable. It's packed full of fascinating concepts, trivia tidbits and amusing and enlightening anecdotes. Anyone with a geeky bent will devour it. Highly recommended.

Thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

There are plenty of great further reading choices in our Top Ten Books For Slightly Geeky People - in particular Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. Why Does E Equal mc Squared? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw is also a great choice. For a lighter read - but not skimping on the science - you'll love Why Can't Elephants Jump? by Mick O'Hare.

Bookinterviews.jpg Marcus Chown was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

Booklists.jpg We Need To Talk About Kelvin by Marcus Chown is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2010.
Buy We Need To Talk About Kelvin by Marcus Chown at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy We Need To Talk About Kelvin by Marcus Chown at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy We Need To Talk About Kelvin by Marcus Chown at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy We Need To Talk About Kelvin by Marcus Chown at Amazon.com.


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