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39 Reviews
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 Science Ideas You Really Need to Know
We're so lucky to live at a time where our knowledge of the universe is so advanced, but to the interested non-specialist with a busy life, science can sometimes seem like a mishmash of theory, fact, claim, jargon and ugly equations. However do not fear, because this book strips things down to the bare essentials of what you need to know.

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Published on 1 Jun 2010 by Mr. S. A. Sumner

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too brief
You would say that 30seconds for a single science theory subject is more than enough (it's the reason why I bought it) but you'll find out soon that perhaps the book should have been titled 2-minutes theories; it was just too brief. All in all I enjoyed reading it (and learned from it).
Published on 27 July 2011 by Erik


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, great bargain, 30 Jun 2010
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This is a great and fascinating book for those of us that have heard "sciencey stuff" but never took the time to understand it.

Well, reading the book won't make you understand any of the topics in any great detail - but it gives you just enough to get going: Quantum Mechanics is not a complete mystery anymore! It has the one about a cat in a box (Schrodinger's cat), Chaos Theory, Dark Matter and all the other "barmy" stuff you hear about from time to time.

I took it into work and it was a hit with my colleagues - a good pick up and browse. Made us chuckle in "down time"...

Not only does it describe theories in 30 seconds - but also has a "3 second thrash" (a "sound bite" for the impatient) and a "3 minute thought" (for a bit more expansion upon the titular 30 second theory).

Recommended - especially if you want to blag some impressive science!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review, 7 Aug 2010
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A taster book that does what it says on the can. It may help to wet your appetite for a more detailed look elsewhere - for example, quantum science etc. It may be too lightweight for those already familiar with any particular subject - but just right for those who are new to topics - and just want a quick idea about a topic
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too superficial, and poorly illustrated., 26 Dec 2010
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Jason Mills "jason10801" (Accrington, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a pretty book and a good idea, but it doesn't amount to much. Each theory is presented in around 300 words of text with afterthoughts in sidebars. It seeks to cover physics, cosmology, the Earth, biology, the mind, etc. The text is written by relevant scientists: John Gribbin, Sue Blackmore, Mark Ridley, etc. The content is generally okay, but it can't give more than the most superficial glimpse of what each field is concerned with.

I had quibbles with the text; here's a couple of examples:

* Gribbin, describing panspermia, asserts: "It seems certain that some [prebiotic chemicals]... fell on to the young Earth and kick-started life." Certain? Since when?

* Jim Al-Khalili says that the Uncertainty Principle allows one property (speed or position) to be "measured to infinite accuracy", when in fact the UP imposes a finite limit on the accuracy obtainable.

* We are informed that in the film "A Beautiful Mind" the "mathematical content... was greatly simplified." This is a bit rich in a science book that only dares include one equation in the entire text, and that's E=mc^2!

However, my biggest beef with this book was the illustrations, which occupy the facing page beside each theory. Here was an opportunity to enrich the text with informative diagrams providing clear and practical insight into each subject: perhaps the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, or RNA transcription at work. Instead, each illustration is little more than a decorative collage of clip-art, with inane captions: "if you believe in quantum theory" (as if 'belief' were an appropriate concept in this context). The one accompanying the article on Selfish Genes is incoherent rubbish. Beside Global Warming is not a graph but a travesty of a graph, by an illustrator who has evidently not grasped that the units on a linear axis must be evenly spaced!

Whilst its overviews are broadly okay, there is little to be learnt here if you're moderately familiar with science, and little that will stick in your mind if you aren't. There are other books that seek to provide an overview (Bryson's, for instance), and I should think most would do a better job than this one. It's barely coffee-table science.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 30 second theories, sixty second read., 24 Nov 2010
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S. D. Spicer (UK) - See all my reviews
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I found this too lightweight. For sure it gives you quick insights into major theories, but it covers the ground in a way that is reminisent of one of those Christmas books.

It's a skim read, but even then the writing is not engaging for non-technical people to buy into.

I read it quickly and it was disappointing. I was quickly fed up with the opinions and the content was at the end of the day too light weight and the writing not involving. After an hours reading I wrapped it up again and lent it to someone else and told them to keep it. I won't miss it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 10 Jan 2014
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This review is from: 30-Second Psychology: The 50 Most Thought-provoking Psychology Theories, Each Explained in Half a Minute (Kindle Edition)
This is a great read for people wanting a straighforward overview of scientific theories. I picked up this book every time I had a spare couple of minutes and thoroughly enjoyed reading it's engaging prose.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review Jan 2013, 21 Jan 2013
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This review is from: 30-Second Psychology: The 50 Most Thought-provoking Psychology Theories, Each Explained in Half a Minute (Kindle Edition)
As a layman with very little formal education but with an avid interest in these types of things, I found this to be very informative and easy to understand and built on the knowledge I already have. OK, it does not go into a massive amount of detail but, then again, I don't think that's what it is intended for. It certainly gives you lots of 'pointers' for things to read into further which I am doing.

Some of the follow up links are difficult to, well, follow up on the Kindle edition but that's a minor detraction really.

All in all, I'm pleased with my purchase.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just right to dip into, 13 Jan 2013
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Mr. B. M. Phillipson (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 30-Second Psychology: The 50 Most Thought-provoking Psychology Theories, Each Explained in Half a Minute (Kindle Edition)
This is an ideal book to dip in and out of. Each subject is covered with enough detail to wet the apetite and allow you to decide if you want to learn more or just use the knowledge to know what the subject is about and move on. A very interesting read.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 20 Jan 2014
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Actually got my son to read a book about Science....... and he enjoyed it!! Now lets try bigger books and we'll see if it worked!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting!!!, 7 Jan 2012
I bought two copies of this book; one for the shelf next to our sofa, which one can take down and peruse for a five-minute break, and one for my 14-year-old daughter, who's into everything scientific and grand... I know we'll both be thumbing through our copies repeatedly... One of the joys of owning a paper copy of a book: You can put it back on the shelf when you have read it (or have momentarily lost interest) and take it down when you're ready for it again...
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous, 26 Jan 2014
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This review is from: 30-Second Psychology: The 50 Most Thought-provoking Psychology Theories, Each Explained in Half a Minute (Kindle Edition)
I love books like this. They take previously misunderstood or obfuscated topics and explain the broad strokes in plain English. Distil even the lives of science's fave pin-ups into short punchy best-ofs and make even me feel smar....less stupid
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