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4.6 out of 5 stars86
4.6 out of 5 stars
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2012
It's Not Rocket Science is an excellent book having a whip through the latest scientific thoughts and research of the day, written by sometime particle physicist and now comedian and actor, Ben Miller. I like Miller's light style and amusing allegorical comparisons. You may have to slow down a bit once in a while to grasp some of the concepts, but as Miller says no one has to understand all or even any of it and to just enjoy the ride, which I most certainly have. Even made sure that friends and family have a copy! I really hope Ben does a follow up of some sort. Great reading and an introduction to science itself.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2012
I just spent two days on a sailing boat with no wind; luckily I downloaded this book. It is the best popular science book I have read and I have read many over the years. As Ben Miller explains early on, this book is about the highlights of science and it is to be enjoyed not learnt. The style reflects his excellent comic sense and timing as he gets to the point quickly and pithily with lots of juicy facts and figures that make you say "you won't believe this but... And "did you know..." to anyone sitting nearby. So read alone if you can...A key aspect of the books appeal is that Miller has not dumbed down the facts and theories to the point that you are not enlightened or indeed do not need to think, its just the way he explains the complexity that opens up subjects that previously were shrouded in mystery.

If you have ever wondered about the origins and potential fate of the universe, earth and man, all wrapped up in quantum physics, stars, nuclear fusion, global warming, E=mc2, human evolution, fossils, how the earth was formed, DNA, victoria sponges, the Maillard reaction, space travel, Gordon Ramsey, and aliens then this is the right book for you.

I would recommend this book wholeheartedly
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2012
Got this book last week and have finished it already. It tackles all the scientific ideas that you really should understand and have opinions on but, frankly, don't, and makes them feel accessible - joyful even. As someone who recently struggled to explain gravity to an eight-year-old niece, it was a revelation to have concepts broken down into such appetising chunks. Thoroughly recommend to anyone who didn't 'choose' science. Should also be required reading for parents so they can enthuse the next generation - the author makes it feel like a total pleasure.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2012
I'm just over halfway through this and want to write a review now because the book hasn't had many so far and certainly deserves lots.

I knew next to nothing about the author before purchasing the book. Although I remember him doing an excellent BBC documentary on heat and temperature, and bought the book on the strength of the kindle sample. Within a few pages I hooked, AND I've read a few popular science books over the years, but Ben Miller has such an easy way of writing I'm surprised this is one of his first books (I may be wrong as I'm not up on the comedy scene)?

I recently read Bill Brysons 'a short history of nearly everything' and although also an excellent book I prefer Miller's book, and his way of writing. It's probably because he's a Brit and a similar age to myself. I would like to think it's the sort of book I could write but I've not even got one percent of Miller's talent!

I will update this review when I finished the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2013
I bought this book for presents for friends, as it seems a very interesting read for curious minds, hope it will go down well and the pages keep turning for the recipient of the books, saw Ben on T.V talking about the book which prompted my purchase. Happy at the price paid seems good value for money
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 October 2012
At the heart of science is not a tangle of abstruse equations and impenetrable jargon but some very simple ideas about the nature of reality. Ben Miller has captured the essence of these ideas succinctly in this witty, informative book. Ranging from the physics of the Hadron Collider , to evolution, the nature of the genome and inheritance, climate change and the future of space travel, he offers a marvellously engaging account of the basics of the greatest of scientific ideas. One comes away from this survey struck by the realisation that our greatest scientific geniuses such as Newton, Darwin and Einstein, were inspired men of creative as well as scientific. Darwin outlined the theory of evolution before the genetic mechanisms driving natural selection were known or understood. Einstein devised his theory of relativity with thought experiments on the tram to and from work. Newton devised his laws of motion centuries before NASA put them to the ultimate test by sending manned missions to the moon. But these are not ideas in the sense of flights of fancy. If we want to know why bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics then Darwin can tell us. Your global positioning system owes a debt to Einstein. We can send a probe to mars because we can calculate its trajectory with stunning precision using Newton's laws. Science's vindication is precisely in this ability to both explain and predict.

This book is suitable for all those who want a quick refresher in the basics of science that they may have neglected or forgotten since leaving school. It's also suitable for those who were sent to sleep during science lessons at secondary school and then belatedly realised (as I did) that I was missing out on something marvellous. It clears up a lot of misconceptions along the way (like the correct way of understanding what survival of the fittest means in evolutionary terms). It doesn't just refresh what you might have once known from those long-forgotten lessons but also discusses issues of pressing contemporary relevance, like climate change, which is, to my mind, one of the best short expositions of the key issues that I have read anywhere. It's useful to come back to the book again if you want a refresher on any of the key principles of scientific thought and of course the book is frequently punctuated with great wit, as one would expect of Ben Miller.

All in all a highly entertaining and informative read. Recommended.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2012
If you liked Cosmos and A Short History of Nearly Everything then this is the book for you . A humorous highly readable summary of the most exciting science around. I particularly liked the climate change and human evolution sections. For me the book hots up after the first chapter . When I get half way through a book I usually either think-good not long to go now-or damn its nearly finished.The latter is how I felt about this book. I even found myself underlining sections and making notes (sad ? possibly but it is a gem of a book you will want to keep and not trade in)

I was reminded of the genetics I had forgotten and was especially interested in the lactose intolerance section . Ben Miller's intelligence comes through in his comedy but I hope he harnesses it for more of the same in the popular science field.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2012
I very rarely read non-fiction books but I was recommended this by a colleague and thought I'd give it a read as Miller is one of my favourite sketch comedians and a book which explains scientific concepts for entertainment was something which I thought sounded interesting.

Miller certainly succeeded in being entertaining although I didn't find it to be that educational. Some parts I could barely understand and was baffled by and others were largely recapping things I knew about. I did find the chapters about alien life and evolution particularly fascinating and every chapter was certainly a joy to read. Every chapter that is except one about the science of food which was largely anecdotal. Miller does anecdotes brilliantly but it felt out of place compared to much of the rest of the book.

This is an entertaining read and I whizzed through it quickly because it's informal style made me want to keep going. Great for anyone with a casual interest in science!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2012
I'm an A level physics student, and having read quite a few physics books, I was worried this might just go over things I'd already read. It doesn't. This covers things that, having discussed with my physics teacher, he didn't know, but was written so simply that wasn't a single bit that was difficult to understand. It's the first academic ish book I've ever read that I read like a fiction book - I read it in every spare moment. The other thing that amazed me, was not only how interesting the topics were, but how relatable. I've read 'a brief history of time', but it's this book that I pull facts out of in physics lessons.
Overall, this is one of the best books I've ever read.
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on 28 August 2014
This is an entertaining and highly readable whirlwind tour of everything you need to know about science to hold your own in a dinner party conversation about the state of the world or to pass yourself off as a scientist to the non-expert, and so perhaps improve your job prospects.

I actually bought this for a teenager for whom it proved a bit of a stretch so I have had to read it instead. However I was then able to give dinner table lectures about the cosmos and the evidence for climate change so the learning has still happened!

The only slight criticism is that the chapter on the Large Hedron Collider and the search for the Higgs-Boson is a lot to take in so quickly and that the chapter on evolution is a bit too light on cantering through the reasons for why it's now recognised as a scientific fact.

However it's a superb book overall so highly recommended!
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