What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
For a taste of what’s in What If?, check out Muroe’s TED Talk on the topic:
or check out the actual What If? website. I’ll still be here when you’re done.
Can you safely swim in the spent fuel rod pool of a nuclear reactor? If all humans stopped what they were doing and started calculating by hand, how would that compare to a modern smartphone? How long could a nuclear submarine last in orbit? If each chemical element were a brick and you made a wall out of those bricks, what would happen? (short answer: Hell on Earth). These are a sampling of the kinds of questions, of which their are dozens, that adorn the pages of What If?, which takes popular posts from the website along with original content for the book (which is what motivated me to buy it, as I am a definite What If? fan).
The TED Talk and perusing the actual website should do more to tell you if this is your kind of book than any words of mine. I’ll just say that if you like beauty and creativity and challenge and learning and life, you’ll like What If?.