Books

Book Review: Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Czerski

This is a feel-good physics book, which sounds all wrong and like a lie. But I’m not kidding. The book is full of personal anecdotes which bring alive the physical laws being introduced, ranging from how gas behaves to the old favorite gravity to thermal dynamics to tension, to name a few. And all of those are brought up with examples of how they influence and work in our daily life.

The book is wonderfully written. It’s funny and intelligent and draws the reader in. It’s a kind of book you as an adult would have liked to read when in school to understand that physics is interesting, relevant, and important. Helen Czerski uses vivid imagery of ketchup bottles to snails in a garden to milk spilled on the floor to make the subject approachable and understandable, and useful as now I know how to behave with ketchup bottles.

I listened to the book in a few days, and while it made me smile and understand some phenomenons better, not all the explanations stuck. I think while listening to the book the imagery of ducks with cold feet overpowered the scientific explanations, and after a week I have forgotten some basic laws and reasoning and remember the vivid pictures I had instead of the explanations. I’m not sure if this would happen while reading a physical book. But it’s always a danger with audiobooks. It’s so easy to get lost in own thoughts and what you see that sometimes the book just passes by.  Thusly if I reread the book, I’d go with the physical copy.

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