Books: 5 books with scientific facts and questions

by kath_red on 18/11/2011

in Books

November: Month of books at

I love books about science and facts and strange behaviour – don’t you? Makes for fun reading with the kids too! Here are five recent books on this topic that I have enjoyed.

A Bee in a Cathedral: And 99 Other Scientific Analogies By Joel Levy, Published by Firefly Books (June 16, 2011).

Find out about “The Goldilocks Universe” and Why like Goldilocks, we need a universe that is ‘right right’ for us. Why do dominoes fall faster than books, why is electricity like water, what would happen if an apple were as big as Earth – these and plenty of other fascinating questions are explored along with simple diagrams to explain the physics of the universe.

Why are Orangutans Orange? Compiled and edited by Mick O’Hare, production editor of New Scientist, Published by Profile books [Following on from the previous book in this series Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze?: And 114 Other Questions]

Amazing and complex, peculiar and mysterious reader questions about our world are explored in this book (with colour photographs from New Scientist readers). Unusual coloured animals, strange shaped clouds, interesting ice formations, unusual insect behaviour – these topics and more are explored and answered by various professionals in the relevant field.

Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History By Eric Chaline, Published by Firefly Books (August 11, 2011).

This beautifully produced book explores human’s relationship with various animals – from using for food and warmth, exploiting for industry and science to hunting to extinction for sport as well as domestication, art, ornamentation and worship. Various animals are explored in terms of their relationship to man – history and culture of their use is explored along with some lovely photos and illustrations and current scientific illustrations.

For example the Mosquito is responsible for millions of deaths a year in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Honeybee on the other hand plays a vital role in pollinating commercial plants and at the same time providing humans with honey and beeswax. The book goes on to look at other animals such as whales, silkworms, buffalo, the wolf (many cultures have stories of wolves – from wolfman type stories to nursery rhymes), chickens and cows to Lions and Reindeer. A fascinating book.

The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science: 50 Experiments for Daring Young Scientists By Sean Connolly. Published by Workman Publishing Company (May 5, 2010).

Stories of mad scientists and their discoveries of the centuries that led to major scientific advances for human kind. Sean Connolly takes us step by step through some of the maddest of scientific experiments and explains the principals behind them. As well as this he leads young scientists on a journey of discovery of their own.

Things That Nobody Knows By William Roland Hartston. Published by Atlantic Books (October 1, 2011).

I love this book – what a great title – things that nobody knows – like “Is telepathy possible?”, “Can robots become self aware?”, “How did the children’s string game of cat’s cradle spread to so many different cultures?” and “Are we living in a computer simulation, as in the film The Matrix?”. Plus lots more questions both hilarious and serious – with information about various hypothesis that have been put towards these questions over the years. Fascinating and funny stuff!

All of these books are available in Australia through Allen and Unwin).

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Jill November 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I Lloved these kinds of books when i was a kid! I had an Isaac Asimov book of facts that i was particularly fond of. And today i’m a bona fide scientist, imagine that!


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