“What If?” by Randall Munroe


This is a collection of entries from the xkcd What If? blog, with maybe some new ones written specifically for the book.  On that blog, the author takes pretty much any crazy question and applies scientific knowledge and physical principles in order to come up with an answer.  It’s pretty wild stuff most of the time.  I think my favorite entry though did not get as mathematical as some of the others: “What would happen if everyone on earth stood as close to each other as they could and jumped, everyone landing on the ground at the same instant?”  The short answer is pretty much nothing; but Munroe carries the consequences of testing this out a bit further.

I’m not sure if I am better off after reading this book, but it was fun to read.  Being able to roughly estimate and extrapolate physical principles is pretty useful, I guess.

What If?” is available from Amazon.


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