Wednesday, 18 February 2015

How To Live Forever and 34 Other Really Interesting Uses For Science Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Alok Jha

Published By
Quercus

Genre
Science, Non-Fiction

Synopsis

How can you live forever? What does it take to create life? How can we find other universes? Will we ever talk to aliens? What do you need to build a brain? How to Live Forever is the essential survival guide for anyone who has ever been baffled by science.

Embarking on a journey from the very small to the very big, readers will be taken on a glorious tour of the universe, taking in cloned sheep, alien worlds, bizarre life forms, quantum weirdness, parallel dimensions and dissected brains along the way. You'll discover how to travel through time, how to start (and cure) a plague, how the mind works, how to turn sunbeams into oak trees, how to boil a planet, how Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility works and much, much more. Both informative and enjoyable, this is a rip-roaring tour through the wonders of the natural world.
 
Review
 
Alok Jha writes for the Guardian newspaper so that should say a lot about his credentials straight away. He’s managed to write a science book that both manages to be funny and incredibly interesting without it being too tech heavy.  That said, one of the things that really struck me the most about this book is the fact that there is a fun side to the work here.  With a lot of science books or books that talk about the possibility of certain things from the movies being made in real life, you can sometimes find that the writing feels a bit stale or even boring in places.  Jha really infuses this book with a sense of fun and wonder and that really makes the ideas stick in your mind.

While some parts do run a little long and tend to repeat their points slightly, it doesn’t massively take away from the book itself. It’s the sort of book that you can pick up when you have a spare five minutes.  That gives it a strength for the readers because with scientific books you can sometimes feel that the subject matter is a bit too daunting to be able to just pick it up and take a look but like I said earlier, that's not the case here at all.
 
I've always been in to my books about various avenues in the science world and I also have a soft spot for books that tackle the 'what if' side of things and this book tackles both with aplomb.  My favorite part of the book has got to be the explanation of the cloak of invisibility from the Harry Potter series.
 
One of the main selling points is the simplicity of some of it’s explanations. While it was never intending to set out to be taken 100% seriously like a Stephen Hawking book, it is still a good one for fellow nerds, or geeks depending on what you want to be called, to pick up.

Presentation 7.5/10
Informative 8/10
Recommended 7.5/10
Overall 23/30

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