• Storm in a Teacup

  • The Physics of Everyday Life
  • By: Helen Czerski
  • Narrated by: Chloe Massey
  • Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (325 ratings)

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Storm in a Teacup  By  cover art

Storm in a Teacup

By: Helen Czerski
Narrated by: Chloe Massey
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Publisher's summary

A physicist explains daily phenomena from the mundane to the magisterial.

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

Critic reviews

"Excellent...an ideal gift for any scientifically inquisitive person, including children or adults who retain a child's sense of wonder. Robert Hooke would have loved it." (John Gribbin, The Wall Street Journal)

"Czerski entertainingly mixes reports of her anyone-can-do-this experiments with serious questions about the world in which we live." (Booklist)

"Storm in a Teacup is a course in physics, but it’s less like a classroom than a long walk with a patient, charming, and very, very learned friend. Czerski has a remarkable knack for finding scientific wonders under every rock, alongside every raindrop, and inside every grain of sand." (Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking)