前美國太空總署(NASA)的機器人專家Randall Munroe以簡單的火柴人塗鴉與淺顯易懂的白話文，解說日常生活的科學原理，讓許多站在科學神聖殿堂外發抖、不得其門而入的麻瓜們有了一窺堂奧的機會。《What If 如果這樣，會怎樣》所掀起的科普熱潮鋪天蓋地，連男神小說家尼爾‧蓋曼都是他的粉絲！這次他維持一貫的自我挑戰──只使用1000個日常字彙──與宅味十足的科學幽默，繼續帶領我們探索隱身在生活裡的科學原理。
Have you ever tried to learn more about some incredible thing, only to be frustrated by incomprehensible jargon? Randall Munroe is here to help. In Thing Explainer, he uses line drawings and only the thousand (or, rather, “ten hundred”) most common words to provide simple explanations for some of the most interesting stuff there is, including:
food-heating radio boxes (microwaves)
tall roads (bridges)
computer buildings (datacenters)
the shared space house (the International Space Station)
the other worlds around the sun (the solar system)
the big flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates)
the pieces everything is made of (the periodic table)
planes with turning wings (helicopters)
boxes that make clothes smell better (washers and dryers)
the bags of stuff inside you (cells)
How do these things work? Where do they come from? What would life be like without them? And what would happen if we opened them up, heated them up, cooled them down, pointed them in a different direction, or pressed this button? In Thing Explainer, Munroe gives us the answers to these questions and so many more. Funny, interesting, and always understandable, this book is for anyone—age 5 to 105—who has ever wondered how things work, and why.
“…a wonderful guide for curious minds.”—Bill Gates
“Like any good work of science writing, [Thing Explainer] is equal parts lucid, funny, and startling.’’—NewYorker.com
PRAISE FOR WHAT IF?
"To reinvigorate your sense of cosmic wonder...breeze through former NASA scientist Munroe's lively answers—peppered with line drawings—to some pretty bizarre questions about life, the universe, and everything else...Extreme astrophysics and indecipherable chemistry have rarely been this clearly explained or this consistently hilarious."—Entertainment Weekly "10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Year"
"Catchy and approachable...There's plenty of scientific rigor behind his elaborate explanations but he punctuates them with sly humor and winningly primitive cartoon diagrams...A cut above so many popular science and technology books."—NPR.org
"Consistently fascinating and entertaining...Munroe leavens the hard science with whimsical touches...An illuminating handbook of methods of reasoning."—Wall Street Journal
"Education should aim to teach people to reason confidently about problems that they have never come across before. This book is a great deal of fun, and a masterclass in such reasoning. Like all the best lessons, you only realise you’ve learned something once you’ve finished it."—The Economist
"Munroe takes inane, useless and often quite pointless questions asked by real humans (mostly sent to him through his website), and turns them into beautiful expositions on the impossible that illuminate the furthest reaches, almost to the limits, of the modern sciences…The answers are all illustrated with XKCD’s trademark stick figures...and these are eminently approachable." —Newsweek
"What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions includes old favorites, new inquiries and the mix of expert research and accessible wit that has made Munroe a favorite among both geeks and laymen." —TIME
"Loaded with the same dry wit and blank-faced stick figures that populate xkcd, What If? is that rare book that will have you laughing as you learn just how a mass extinction might unfold."—Discover