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What If - Randall Munroe



Publisher: John Murray General Publishing Division

What If

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
Science's most intriguing questions answered by the web's favourite writer, the genius behind Munroe's hilarious and compelling answers explain everything from the odds of meeting your one true soulmate to how many humans a rampaging T-Rex would need to eat a day.

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THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER From the creator of the wildly popular, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Millions visit each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions: How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British Empire? When will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than living? How many humans would a T Rex rampaging through New York need to eat a day? In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations and consults nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.

John Murray General Publishing Division


Number of Pages 320


has solved my annual birthday-present and holiday-gift dilemmas for a large group of people ... What makes Munroe's work so fantastic is a combination of two elements: his commitment to trying to answer even the weirdest question with solid science, and his undeniable sense of humour. So, here's a "What If?" from me: If everyone on the planet simultaneously bought a copy of this book, stopped what they were doing and read it cover to cover, would modern civilization and our global economy collapse? It's worth trying the experiment. HUFFINGTON POST For the record, I'm loving XKCD's What If -- 'Dear Abby for mad scientists' NEIL GAIMAN Munroe has hit on a wonderful form of science and engineering communication that can do so much-extolling the value of analytical thinking, examining data, and doing back-of-the-envelope calculations-while entertaining readers at the same time ... an incredibly fun book with quirky, hand-drawn pictures AMERICAN SCIENTIST Thoughtful, scientific, and highly entertaining PARADE If you're the kind of person whose brain whizzes with questions, Munroe's book may calm the noise. He's done all the hard work for you SHORTLIST XKCD is nerd royalty, the alpha dork, there's no geek more widely cited and loved BEN GOLDACRE, author of BAD SCIENCE It's totally brilliant and everyone who matters already knows that! TIM HARFORD, THE UNDERCOVER ECONOMIST Education should aim to teach people to reason confidently about problems that they have never come across before. This book is a great deal of fun, and a masterclass in such reasoning. Like all the best lessons, you only realise you've learnt something once you've finished it The Economist Dangerously absorbing ... if you have ever been gripped by an insatiable, preposterous intellectual curiosity (regardless of actual scientific knowledge), I could not think of a better book to keep you from doing that essay for an extra hour or two Varsity The reader is left constantly subject to outbursts of laughter, lin-gering doubts concerning the sanity of the human race, and an ever-growing fascination with the way our world and the universe works ... Though science geeks will be the first to acknowledge Munroe's greatness, even people suffering from a chronic hatred towards anything concerned with math will find the humour and absurdity of What If? hard to resist The Student Funny and fascinating: brilliant for dinner with mates Graeme le Saux It will satisfy the curious and arouse curiosity in anyone who's not - and it's got great jokes Irish Times An essential holiday companion Nature