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Updated by Stephen Perry on May 09, 2017
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What IF? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

A Book of Intriguing Questions --- and even more intriguing answers!

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What IF? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

What IF? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
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Randall Munroe, WHAT IF. In the AISC LIBRARY under the call number 500 MUN

Randall Munroe, WHAT IF. In the AISC LIBRARY under the call number 500 MUN

I usually review serious works of literature for the** Islander, such as **The Secret History, Americanah, and 11/22/63, a fictional account of the assassination of JFK.

Today, however, I thought I would take a humorous detour and look instead at a book that is literally flying off the shelves of our Library.

This book, WHAT IF, is especially popular with Middle School students who marvel that real scientists would answer such questions as "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?"

(see the image above for an idea of what that might look like)

That answer for this question actually takes 3 pages -- but the explanation is funny, as well as intriguing, and actually quite serious and scientific at the same time.

Reading this book will definitely make you the smartest and the most sought after guest at any cocktail party.

The author of the book, Randall Munroe, describes himself as a kind of a Dear Abby for mad scientists and he has gained a cult following, first for his web sites answering wacky questions from call-in audiences, and then later, his books, which would become best-sellers.

The** SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN** called the book a fun, zany and very scientific ride; GOODREADS noted the book was so fun you cannot put it down and labeled it an effortless way to learn Science.

My own take is that the book is amusing, intriguing, fun, and yet, at the same time highly educational.

Now, I have a What IF question I want you all to ponder:

What would happen if the moon suddenly went away?

Stephen Perry,
Proud AISC LIBRARIAN

P.S. This book is available for immediate checkout; the call number is 500 MUN