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Physicist and rising BBC star, Dr Helen Czerski explains how familiar, everyday objects can help us to understand the complex physical principles that govern our world.

This book links the little things – the unexpected pinkness of blueberry jam or the way the air smells before it rains – with the big in a book that will alter the way you see the world. Helen Czerski shows how the familiar, from coffee stains to ketchup bottles, can shed light on Antarctic winds, medical tests and our future energy needs.

Did you know that it is the small amount of water contained in popcorn that, when heated, blows the kernel inside out? Or that this science also explains the lungs of a whale, a popping champagne cork and a supersonic jet?

Hidden in familiar, everyday objects is the science that explains the human body, planet Earth and the way our civilisations works. And once you know the principle involved in boiling an egg, or sticking a magnet to a fridge, or jumping into a pool of water, pieces of a much larger puzzle will slot into place.

Beautifully written and accessible for all, this leaves the reader empowered to make their own observations, and most importantly it is enormous fun.

Reviews

A quite delightful book on the joys, and universality, of physics. Czerski’s enthusiasm is infectious because she brings our humdrum everyday world to life, showing us that it is just as fascinating as anything that can be seen by the Hubble Telescope or created at the Large Hadron Collider.

Jim Al-Khalili

If you've ever felt like understanding how things work is just too big a mountain to climb then read this book. It'll carry you gently to the peak and show you how stunning and beautiful the view is. It is rare that someone can explain that which seems endlessly complex and makes you feel like in fact you'd understood it all along. Helen Czerski's book does just that. Fun, fascinating and brilliantly well written - 'Right there, in my teacup, I can see the storm.' Me too and I know what it is now.

Marcus Brigstocke

This book is charming, accessible and enthusiastic. Helen invites you in to see the world through a her eyes and understand how a physicist thinks. It's a wonderful way to discover the hidden scientific connections behind the ordinary and everyday.

Dr Hannah Fry

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781784160753

    March 20, 2017

    Black Swan

    400 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

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  • Hardback

    9780593075425

    November 15, 2016

    Bantam Press

    320 pages

    RRP $49.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9780593075432

    October 31, 2016

    Bantam Press

    320 pages

    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781473525931

    November 3, 2016

    Transworld Digital

    320 pages

    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle
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    • eBooks
    • Google Play
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