Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review: What Einstein Didn't Know Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions by Robert L. Wolke

Discover how cricket chirps can tell us the temperature, why you can't unburn a match, why ice floats, and a host of mysteries of modern living — including some riddles that maybe even Einstein couldn't solve. From the simple (How does soap know what's dirt? How do magnets work? Why do batteries die?) to the more complex (Why does evaporation have a cooling effect? Where does uranium get its energy?), this book makes science more understandable and fun.
Author Robert Wolke provides definitive and easy-to-comprehend explanations for things that we take for granted, like the illumination behind neon signs and the mysteries of beverage carbonation. Wolke also dares readers to explore and conduct their own experiments with food, kitchen utensils, and common household products. This fifteenth anniversary edition of his bestselling popular science classic has been completely revised and expanded.

I've read quite a few reference and trivia books before, but none quite like this one.

In What Einstein Didn't Know Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions, readers learn the answer to some questions about everyday life and even the answers to some questions they haven't thought about asking before. There are also sections in some of the trivia included wherein readers can try certain experiments and learn additional trivia.

Compared to other books I've read, this book is very heavy on chemistry and physics-related questions and answers. Now, while I enjoyed physics in high school and college, college chemistry was one of those subjects that I understood and studied and promptly forgot once I graduated. As such, there were some parts of the book were I lost interest, particularly the ones I already learned in college. However, there were some really interesting parts I did like, and I did learn a number of cool, new things. One of which was a different and faster way to convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit and vice versa (Celsius to Fahrenheit = ((C+40)(1.8))-40; Fahrenheit to Celsius = ((C+40) divided by 1.8)-40).

The tone of the writing is a bit more sarcastic and funny than your usual trivia books, which is nice and makes the material feel a little bit easier to understand. The book could do with a little more color and creative layout, though.

Thanks to NetGalley and Dover Publications for the e-ARC.


  1. It's very informative.
  2. You'll probably learn something interesting.
  3. The writing style is entertaining.


  1. It could use a little bit more color and a more creative layout. 

The result is a thoroughly pampered, humored, and overindulged egg.

  1. You like trivia books.
  2. You like chemistry.
  3. You like physics. 




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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