The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science: 50 Experiments for Daring Young Scientists

Sean Connolly (Author)
Available

Product Details

Price
$14.95  $13.75
Publisher
Workman Publishing
Publish Date
May 05, 2010
Pages
305
Dimensions
6.32 X 1.23 X 9.44 inches | 1.08 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9780761156871

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About the Author

Sean Connolly is an expert on policy development and implementation across the public sector, especially in reducing inequality and promoting community safety and involvement. He has particular experience in programme management of neighbourhood-based regeneration programmes. Most recently he was Intelligence and Analysis Manager at Birmingham City Council, managing a partnership approach to shared intelligence across the police, the council, and the National Health Service with a view to supporting families with multiple needs.

Reviews

Winner of the 2011 AAAS & Subaru Award for Excellence in Science Books in the Hands-On Category

"This book stands out from the crowd of guides to science experiments that can be performed at home. Whereas many such works present a hodgepodge of standard experiments, Connolly builds this one around the theme of major scientific and technological breakthroughs that have occurred over the past 2-plus million years of human history--arranged from the first stone tools crafted by Homo erectus to the Large Hadron Collider now being used to accelerate particles to speeds approaching that of light. Each of the 34 chapters comprises descriptions of an advance and its context, the science behind it, and one or more experiments that demonstrate underlying principles. These are presented in a breezy and engaging style. Although calling the discoveries potentially catastrophic is sure to intrigue a certain kind of young experimenter, the author's explanations note both the benefits and the drawbacks of the advances. Parents will appreciate the "catastrophic meter" reading for each experiment, which indicates the hazards involved and the appropriate level of adult supervision. The experiments and their ties to the science are consistently creative: One can spool DNA onto a skewer after isolating it from a half-eaten banana. A handmade oven works because of some of the principles behind a laser beam. The speed of light can be estimated using a microwave oven, marshmallows, and a ruler. Even adults who have survived many science fairs will find themselves temped to try some of Connolly's experiments."

"A lot of mankind's greatest advances have been just a smidge away from disaster. The Wright Brothers' flying machine, Ben Franklin's fiddling with lightning, Enrico Fermi's chain reaction. In the book, Connolly explains these discoveries and applies the concepts to scaled-back (and kid-safe) experiments that use common household items. Each experiment gets rated on a "catastrophe meter," so adults can judge the danger quotient and how much help they need to offer."

"Budding scientists can learn about principles such as air resistance, condensation and the electromagnetic spectrum. But they learn because Connolly has them making a parachute that safely delivers eggs, crushing a can through sudden condensation or projecting an image of the bones in their hand on a wall. It's all done in an engaging, fun manner."