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Fascinating read

Alice Lipscomb-Southwell (BBC Focus)

Brian Clegg

Quizzes can be good fun, but they rarely seem to have enough science questions.

In How Many Moons, Brian produces two full scale quizzes of eight rounds each purely on science questions. Not the kind of boring questions you got asked at school - these are questions to intrigue and delight including:

• If the Earth were made into a black hole, what would be the diameter of its event horizon?
• What links the elephant Tusko at Oklahoma City Zoo and Timothy Leary?
• If you too one step each second in seven-league boots, what would your speed be in miles per hour?
• What was Einstein’s 1930 patent for?
• Why did Uuq become Fl?
… and, yes, How Many Moons Does the Earth Have (which QI gets wrong).

Although the quizzes can be run as actual events, there’s far more to it that than that. You can test yourself on each question, supported by intriguing factoids, then turn the page to not only on find the answer but a page that expands on the result to give an intriguing exploration of science.

An ideal gift for any science lover. If you enjoy this book, take a look at its companion, What Colour is the Sun?

You can hear an interview with Brian by James Stein on New Books in Science here:

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Reviews

Being a physics and chemistry teacher of ten long, but incredibly fun, years I am always on the lookout for books that can be adapted and used as a teaching tool. I have used some of the more intriguing questions from this book as lesson starters and then discussed some of the extra information that the author gives under the title “while you’re thinking”. It is always fun to do a little science quiz each term and for this purpose the book is a great little addition to other resources. Beyond this, the book lends itself to topping up your personal science “fact bank”… I must say though that I enjoyed reading this short but enjoyable book and that it does exactly what it sets out to do. Paul Lederer, Times Educational Supplement Blog

The topics are varied and relevant, and answers are explained in a way that is clear and avoids unnecessary jargon. Complex concepts are covered without assuming a great deal of background knowledge… whether you’re a quiz aficionado or prefer to sit down to read by yourself, this book is great to dip in and out of and maybe you’ll learn a little something along the way. Philippa Matthews, Chemistry World

Science and fun go together like - well, like things that don’t often go together at all. So it’s no mean feat to find that Brian Clegg has managed to combine the two so skilfully in How Many Moons Does the Earth Have… The biggest problem with this book is being able to put it down, as each item is very short, it’s tempting to go for just one more, and another, until you’re half-way through in a single sitting. The subjects are widespread, though all encompass science and technology… - there are also some great picture and puzzle sections. In fact the majority of the questions have a little twist or surprise that mean they continue to delight all the way through, and I must say that I don’t believe that I’ve ever uttered ‘Well I never’ so many times and in such a short space of time before. If you like QI or the New Scientist books like Why Don’t a Penguin’s Feet Freeze, you’ll just love this one! It’s a great book for anyone with an interest in science and at a really good price that makes it an excellent stocking filler. I am certainly going to be buying a whole stack as Christmas presents for my Oxford chums. Peet Morris, Popular Science website

Instead of gathering around the telly this Christmas, why not get a little quizzical? Brian Clegg’s new book contains two science-themed quizzes to keep you and your friends occupied on those wintery evenings. What is spaghettification? Why is the sky blue? Find out with this feast of tantalising trivia. BBC Focus ‘Brainfood’ section

Fascinating read Alice Lipscomb-Southwell, BBC Focus

If the Microscope and Spyglass had a pub quiz, this would be its Bible. Marcus Chown, author of What a Wonderful World

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