How does soap know what's dirt? How do magnets work? Why do ice cubes crackle in your glass? And how can you keep them quiet?
These are questions that torment us all. Now Robert L. Wolke, professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, provides definitive - and amazingly simple - explanations for the mysteries of everyday life. Shattering myths (such as the common belief that salt melts the ice in your driveway)... providing insider secrets (like what lights up a neon sign)... and daring you to perform your own experiments (find out what happens when you use a sharp knife to scratch the inside of a beer glass filled with brew!), Dr. Wolke provides astounding facts, can't-lose bar bets, and sometimes shocking truths.
Why is the sky blue? A candle flame yellow? Or bleached clothes white? Don't stay in the dark. When it comes to unraveling the mysteries of modern living, maybe Einstein didn't know. But you can - even if you've never lit a Bunsen burner - with this fascinating, eye-opening book about our astonishing world.
©1997 Robert L. Wolke (P)2012 Tantor
"Entertaining... a fun read." (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
This book is just a group of random science based questions about regular everyday phenomena. In all honesty you might never have thought about some of the "whys" that are answered in this book but once they are answered you find yourself nodding your head in agreement.
Robert Wolke simply seems to just think of random science questions related to everyday occurrences and answers them. I like Science... In fact I studied Chemistry at the University level so I very much liked this whole book. I was actually quite impressed at how he was able to make rather complex concepts sound quite easy. If I were doing High School level Science I believe this actually have been a good overview of everything science to make Science seem more relatable to everyday life and less abstract.
One thing I have to take away from this book is the lack of structure. Yes there was some semblance of what I just mentioned but it was generally broken up to inject some sense of humor or some added info. It was fun at times and did break up the monotony of what could easily have been a drawling book of random facts; however it also broke the flow at times. You will either love this about the book... hate this about the book or find it just plain annoying.
The narrator dry humor actually added to the listening value of the book and made it rather enjoyable to listen to. I might be a bit biased because I am a big fan of Sean Runnette from the Mark Tufo's Zombie Fallout books.
All in all, this was a nice book to listen to.
What Einstein Didn’t Know is a book filled with the wonders of science in an easily digestible meal of molecule sized bites. Robert Wolke knows how to explain the mysteries of every day life by demystifying the science behind it.
But this would have been a better book without the constant injections of humour. Most of these attempts, I thought, fell flat and distracted from the real value of the prose. In addition, the author seemed to have issues with a list of professions which were the butt of many of his quips; lawyers, marketers, government and other easy targets. Sean Runnette, an excellent narrator, also seemed to struggle with this mix of “science explained” and “stand up comedy”.
As I write this review I remember many of the excellent explanations of atoms, molecules and ions and a few of the analogies to explain them, but none of the jokes.
I originally purchased this book because it seemed similar to David McRaney's books of You Are Not So Smart, and You Are Now Less Dumb, and I was not disappointed.
It was an interesting book, and answers some good everyday questions.
On a technicality, these are hardly things that "Einstein didn't know" - in fact, a couple of the "answers" in the book revolves around explaining E=M(C*C)! A previous reviewer remarked that the humour was ill suited for the book, and I agree, but this little bit made me chuckle.
My one problem with the book, is that in the last section, the author implies that magnetic therapies are somehow effective treatments for all sorts of medical ailments. It's very disappointing to be enjoying a light science book, only to have it grind to such an anti-scientific moment.
On a quirky side note for those in the skeptics movement and-the-like, I found that the narrators voice, delivery (and jokes) were very reminiscent of Ken Hovind. Except that what he was saying was scientific, of course!
Overall, an interesting book for the curious mind, and helps to put your existing scientific knowledge to practical use.
explanations for laypersons
Explanation why champagne bubbles
Chemistry and cooking
Physical-chemistry something interesting
The title of the book is what is unexplainable. It is only for capturing readers that surprise because Einstein does not appear any more in the text.
I listened to this and the sequel "What Einstein told his cook" and was fascinated with both. With a background in science and engineering, I learned a few fun facts reading the book. I would recommend this to anyone, regardless of their level of scientific knowledge. The book is well written and narrated, except for a few bad puns and jokes (which I really did enjoy with a small smile ;-).
Interesting book. somewhat repetitive in its contents. the title is unfortunate. this book is more about the wonders of chemistry than anything else.
Barrage of facts. Easy to understand but dryly performed.
This book is good for the information it contains. Not the kind of trivia book that can be picked up at any point and just as easily understood though. It starts with some basic scientific principles and builds on many of them throughout the book. It is well written but not delivered as entertainingly as it could have been. The narration is adequate but not terribly enthusiastic. Tho same meter, pitch, and tone tends to blend together after awhile.
I really tried to like this one because it was such an interesting idea and a good way to get people interested in finding out more. Honestly though, try as I might I couldn't even get half way before the narration started getting too irritating and the tone of writing began seeming too much like my old chemistry teachers. Couldn't stand them then and this reminds me of why
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