What If? – Randall Munroe

I’ve followed xkcd for years, and love Randall’s other projects. In What If? he tackles hypothetical questions with Science!

The majority of the questions are handled in much greater detail than usual, looking at cutting edge research and extrapolating it well-beyond existing usage, to an extent that only the IgNobel prizewinners can hope to match. And even when evidence doesn’t exist, he just acknowledges the current data limits…

If anyone puts a steak in a hypersonic wind tunnel to get better data on this, please, send me the video.

This is a book of a whole heap of ideas that made me think about what I really know about how the world behaves. When do our internal classical mechanical understandings of the way the physics behaves break down, and what replaces them? It bridges that gap elegantly, in small steps from “this is what happens in classic mechanics” to “the whole world is broken”.

I laughed may times at outrageous claims, or at questions that Randall identified as making no sense at all. And I think I learnt a few things.

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