Sunday, February 24, 2008

BOOK: Quirks and Quarks Guide to Space by Jim Lebans

The Quirks and Quarks Guide to Space by Jim Lebans
42 Questions (and Answers) About Life, The Universe, and Everything

Science Book Challenge

If you are lucky enough to get CBC radio, you probably already know about Quirks and Quarks, the science show on Saturdays. Host Bob MacDonald explains all the newest scientific discoveries, in everyday language and with humor. I was very excited to see this book released, and it is going to have a prominent place on my desk at school. During physics classes, the most amazing questions can be asked, and I don't know the answer to many of them, astronomy not being my strong suit. I may even start reading a chapter out loud every day or so, because this is the stuff that people want to know.

To give you an idea of the tone of the book, which is very readable, the opening quote is from Douglas Adams, "Space is big. Really big....." Lebans, a producer with the Quirks and Quarks show, tackles 42 questions and then answers them. Where does space begin? (100km above Earth) Can I run fast and jump into orbit? (theoretically, but not really) What moons are worth visiting? ( Jupiter's Europa, and Saturn's Titan might be very interesting) and How fast are we moving through space? (it's all relative to what else is moving, but pretty fast)

Lebans does a great job of explaining why Pluto isn't a planet anymore, and what might happen if you fell into a black hole, which involves 'spaghettifying.' I first heard that phrase when watching 'A Brief History of Time,' the documentary based on Stephen Hawking's book of the same name. I am not up to date enough to know if everything is accurate, but since science changes so rapidly, I'll assume it is good for now. I plan to reread some of the Big Bang Theory questions later, and I hope I'll be lending this out to those inquisitive students who love physics.


  1. That book sounds interesting. I love listening to Pat Senson, the other producer on Quirks and Quarks. He's on the afternoon show every Wednesday and he's always so excited about explaining science.

  2. This book - and the whole challenge - sounds right up your alley! =) Hope you're doing well.


  3. This sounds like something i would love, I've never heard of it before - thanks!

  4. ctoan - it's a great show

    jill - I tie on those nerd tests between books and science/math, so books about science are perfect!

    joanna - it's very readable, I think you can get it on the CBC site.

  5. Love it! I'm guessing CBC is akin to NPR? See, I don't know these guys but the book sounds rather accessible to jr/sr students. Might be perfect for the list. :)


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