The Science Magpie – A Review

Simon Flynn
The Science Magpie: A Hoard of Fascinating Facts, Stories, Poems, Diagrams and Jokes, Plucked from Science and Its History

Published 4 Oct 2012
ISBN 978-1848314160  pages 288  €13.99
From the Large Hadron Collider rap to the sins of Isaac Newton, The Science Magpie is a compelling collection of scientific curiosities.
Expand your knowledge as you view the history of the Earth on the face of a clock, tremble at the power of the Richter scale and learn how to measure the speed of light in your kitchen.
Skip through time with Darwin’s note on the pros and cons of marriage, take part in an 1858 Cambridge exam, meet the African schoolboy with a scientific puzzle named after him and much more.

My Review

This book, just as Aristotle says of nature, operates in the shortest way possible.  Simon Flynn conjures a cornucopia of science basics to advanced topics, all glittered with quotes, poems, and intrigue. I devoured this book in one helping.

The Science Magpie informs, thrills and divulges information about physics in a venerable fashion for all. Simon Flynn manages to break barriers while building bridges between the lay man’s scientific grasp and the experts.

We are shown the bond between poetry and science, as Sindney Lainer says,‘The scientific man is merely the minister of poetry. He is cutting down the Western Woods of Time; presently the poetry will come there and make a city and gardens… Scientific facts have never reached their proper functions until they merge into new poetic relations.’

You certainly won’t need to listen to any soundtrack while reading as your own exclamations of, ‘wow’ and ‘hmmmm’ will suffice  and will piqué the interest of those around you.

Some favourites:
Did you know that (according to the Bible, Isaiah 30:26) heaven is hotter than hell.
Boiled water freezes quicker than not boiled water – and no one knows why.
Thanks to the mitochondrial DNA, science can say that all females are descended form one female; the mitochondrial Eve.
Thanks also to the Y-chromosome, science can also say that all males are descended from the one male; the Y-Adam.
The term Quark (in particle physics it’s a classification scheme) came to Murray Gell-Mann from a dream about James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, ‘three quarks for Munster Mark.’

Thanks to NetGalley for the eArc

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