Best Selling Books in Humor - Science & Scientists

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release date: Sep 02, 2014
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What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask.

Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe’s iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following.

Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there was a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?

In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by signature xkcd comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.

The book features new and never-before-answered questions, along with updated and expanded versions of the most popular answers from the xkcd website. What If? will be required reading for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical.

release date: Sep 14, 2004
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A Short History of Nearly Everything
One of the world’s most beloved writers and bestselling author of One Summer takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer.

In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trailwell, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understandand, if possible, answerthe oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.
release date: Nov 24, 2015
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Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words
In Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, things are explained in the style of Up Goer Five, using only drawings and a vocabulary of the 1,000 (or "ten hundred") most common words. Explore computer buildings (datacenters), the flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), the things you use to steer a plane (airliner cockpit controls), and the little bags of water you're made of (cells).
release date: May 03, 2005
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The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry

If you have ever suspected that "heavy water" is the title of a bootleg Pink Floyd album, believed that surface tension is an anxiety disorder, or imagined that a noble gas is the result of a heavy meal at Buckingham Palace, then you need The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry to set you on the road to chemical literacy.

You don't need to be a scientist to grasp these and many other complex ideas, because The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry explains them all: the history and basics of chemistry, atomic theory, combustion, solubility, reaction stoichiometry, the mole, entropy, and much more—all explained in simple, clear, and yes, funny illustrations. Chemistry will never be the same!

release date: May 09, 2017
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We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe
Prepare to learn everything we still don’t know about our strange and mysterious universe.

Humanity's understanding of the physical world is full of gaps. Not tiny little gaps you can safely ignore —there are huge yawning voids in our basic notions of how the world works. PHD Comics creator Jorge Cham and particle physicist Daniel Whiteson have teamed up to explore everything we don't know about the universe: the enormous holes in our knowledge of the cosmos. Armed with their popular infographics, cartoons, and unusually entertaining and lucid explanations of science, they give us the best answers currently available for a lot of questions that are still perplexing scientists, including:

* Why does the universe have a speed limit?
* Why aren't we all made of antimatter?
* What (or who) is attacking Earth with tiny, superfast particles?
* What is dark matter, and why does it keep ignoring us?

It turns out the universe is full of weird things that don't make any sense. But Cham and Whiteson make a compelling case that the questions we can't answer are as interesting as the ones we can.

This fully illustrated introduction to the biggest mysteries in physics also helpfully demystifies many complicated things we do know about, from quarks and neutrinos to gravitational waves and exploding black holes. With equal doses of humor and delight, Cham and Whiteson invite us to see the universe as a possibly boundless expanse of uncharted territory that's still ours to explore.
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release date: Apr 06, 2005
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The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman (Helix Books)
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out is a magnificent treasury of the best short works of Richard P. Feynman—from interviews and speeches to lectures and printed articles. A sweeping, wide-ranging collection, it presents an intimate and fascinating view of a life in science-a life like no other. From his ruminations on science in our culture to his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, this book will fascinate anyone interested in the world of ideas.
release date: Apr 30, 2013
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The Craft of Scientific Presentations: Critical Steps to Succeed and Critical Errors to Avoid

The Craft of Scientific Presentations, 2nd edition aims to strengthen you as a presenter of science and engineering. The book does so by identifying what makes excellent presenters such as Brian Cox, Jane Goodall, Richard Feynman, and Jill Bolte Taylor so strong. In addition, the book explains what causes so many scientific presentations to flounder.

One of the most valuable contributions of this text is that it teaches the assertion-evidence approach to scientific presentations. Instead of building presentations, as most engineers and scientists do, on the weak foundation of topic phrases and bulleted lists, this assertion-evidence approach calls for building presentations on succinct message assertions supported by visual evidence. Unlike the commonly followed topic-subtopic approach that PowerPoint leads presenters to use, the assertion-evidence approach is solidly grounded in research.

By showing the differences between strong and weak presentations, by identifying the errors that scientific presenters typically make, and by teaching a much more powerful approach for scientific presentations than what is commonly practiced, this book places you in a position to elevate your presentations to a high level. In essence, this book aims to have you not just succeed in your scientific presentations, but excel.

About the Author

Michael Alley has taught workshops on presentations to engineers and scientists on five continents, and has recently been invited to speak at the European Space Organization, Harvard Medical School, MIT, Sandia National Labs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Simula Research Laboratory, and United Technologies. An Associate Professor of engineering communication at Pennsylvania State University, Alley is a leading researcher on the effectiveness of different designs for presentation slides.

release date: Jun 26, 2018
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The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy
The award-winning climate scientist Michael E. Mann and the Pulitzer Prize–winning political cartoonist Tom Toles have been on the front lines of the fight against climate denialism for most of their careers. They have witnessed the manipulation of the media by business and political interests and the unconscionable play to partisanship on issues that affect the well-being of billions. The lessons they have learned have been invaluable, inspiring this brilliant, colorful escape hatch from the madhouse of the climate wars.

The Madhouse Effect portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that human activity has changed Earth's climate. Toles's cartoons collapse counter-scientific strategies into their biased components, helping readers see how to best strike at these fallacies. Mann's expert skills at science communication aim to restore sanity to a debate that continues to rage against widely acknowledged scientific consensus. The synergy of these two climate science crusaders enlivens the gloom and doom of so many climate-themed books―and may even convert die-hard doubters to the side of sound science.
release date: Apr 17, 2018
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The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife
Mary Roach meets Bill Bryson in this "surefire summer winner" (Janet Maslin, New York Times), an uproarious tour of the basest instincts and biggest mysteries of the animal world

Humans have gone to the Moon and discovered the Higgs boson, but when it comes to understanding animals, we've still got a long way to go. Whether we're seeing a viral video of romping baby pandas or a picture of penguins "holding hands," it's hard for us not to project our own values--innocence, fidelity, temperance, hard work--onto animals. So you've probably never considered if moose get drunk, penguins cheat on their mates, or worker ants lay about. They do--and that's just for starters. In The Truth About Animals, Lucy Cooke takes us on a worldwide journey to meet everyone from a Colombian hippo castrator to a Chinese panda porn peddler, all to lay bare the secret--and often hilarious--habits of the animal kingdom. Charming and at times downright weird, this modern bestiary is perfect for anyone who has ever suspected that virtue might be unnatural.

release date: Nov 03, 2009
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The Physics of Superheroes: More Heroes! More Villains! More Science! Spectacular Second Edition
A complete update to the hit book on the real physics at work in comic books, featuring more heroes, more villains, and more science 

Since 2001, James Kakalios has taught "Everything I Needed to Know About Physics I Learned from Reading Comic Books," a hugely popular university course that generated coast-to-coast media attention for its unique method of explaining complex physics concepts through comics. With The Physics of Superheroes, named one of the best science books of 2005 by Discover, he introduced his colorful approach to an even wider audience. Now Kakalios presents a totally updated, expanded edition that features even more superheroes and findings from the cutting edge of science. With three new chapters and completely revised throughout with a splashy, redesigned package, the book that explains why Spider-Man's webbing failed his girlfriend, the probable cause of Krypton's explosion, and the Newtonian physics at work in Gotham City is electrifying from cover to cover.
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