Take a look up at the stars on a clear night, and you get a sense that the universe is vast and untouchable, full of mysteries beyond comprehension. But did you know that the key to unveiling the secrets of the cosmos is as close as the nearest toaster?
Our home here on earth is messy, mutable, and full of humdrum things that we touch and modify without much thought every day. But these familiar surroundings are just the place to look if you're interested in what makes the universe tick. In Storm in a Teacup, Helen Czerski provides the tools to alter the way we see everything around us by linking ordinary objects and occurrences, like popcorn popping, coffee stains, and fridge magnets, to big ideas like climate change, the energy crisis, and innovative medical testing. She guides us through the principles of gases ("explosions in the kitchen are generally considered a bad idea. But just occasionally a small one can produce something delicious"); gravity (drop some raisins in a bottle of carbonated lemonade and watch the whoosh of bubbles and the dancing raisins at the bottom bumping into each other); size (Czerski explains the action of the water molecules that cause the crime-scene stain left by a puddle of dried coffee); and time (why it takes so long for ketchup to come out of a bottle).
Along the way she provides answers to vexing questions: How does water travel from the roots of a redwood tree to its crown? How do ducks keep their feet warm when walking on ice? Why does milk, when added to tea, look like billowing storm clouds? In an engaging voice at once warm and witty, Czerski shares her stunning breadth of knowledge to lift the veil of familiarity from the ordinary. You may never look at your toaster the same way.
©2017 Helen Czerski (P)2017 Random House Audio
As an university graduate with a Dual Bachelor's Degree in Biology and Chemistry, I enjoyed the simplicity of the science delivered as we see it in our daily lives. This book might be too daunting to those who don't meddle with science, but for those who do love science, this story will open your eyes and let in a new perspective in the world we live in. As someone who appreciates the physical laws that govern this universe and how those laws intertwine with our world, I felt at home with this book and let my appreciation escalate to a deeper level. I highly recommend it.
The subject matter turned out to be a bit more diverse than I'd expected. Perhaps I thought it would all be about teacups and toasters and fizzy water. But venturing out into nature, of redwoods and beaches, and the cosmos beyond, provided even more interesting information.
Just as an aside however, with regard to pouring the ketchup. If you're spending so much time using ketchup on food, whether it be chips, or burgers, (or like the maniac who puts it on steak, for crying out loud), you might think about tastier food. No good food needs ketchup.
This book focused on some very complex scientific issues and brought them to an everyday level that anyone could understand. Not only did this method make the concepts easy to understand, but also made it enthralling to listen to. I've listened to it twice and still love it.
I was fascinated by the explanation of how a toaster works. I never thought that topic could be very interesting.
Her voice and accent are so pleasant that I think I would purchase an audio telephone book that she read.
I found this extremely interesting and have listened to if a number of times. Some of it is a bit pedantic, going into a more detail than necessary but overall still well worth the listen. the science behind what we see regularly, and often are unaware of, far outweighs the occasional over explanation e.g. buttered toast falling butter side down and why. While some explanations might have been more succinct, I very much enjoyed a better understanding of the science behind these everyday occurrences. People who enjoy this book might also like the What Einstein Told... series. They flow along a similar line and were also quite enjoyable.
We move through our days unaware of so much and this has made me more mindful of everyday occurrences that I have overlooked.
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