Ever since Justin Pollard mentioned that his newest book was going to be based on science discoveries, I knew it was going to brilliant and I wasn't wrong.
In Pollard-esque style, the book is filled with fascinating tales and stories behind what really happened in the science world and what really happened behind some of our most popular inventions.
Boffinology is filled with hidden gems of factual information that is both interesting and helpful in the understanding of how things work and why we use items the way we do. You do not need to be a fan of science or even care about science to like this book (although if you are, even better!). But if you enjoy trivia or are curious about how modern day items came to be, this is the book for you.
You can read the book front to cover, as I did, or use it as a pick-up-flip-to-a-page and read book. Each page will not disappoint although I guarantee you won't be able to read just one story.
The book is broken into 10 Chapters, each containing 10 Quite Interesting *ahem* stories.
Stop reading this review and click buy. You won't regret it.
15 Sep 2012 By JB Thoroughly good read, appealing to both adults and teenagers alike.
This well written book comprises short and humorous anecdote-style overviews of famous inventions and discoveries; each described in just the right level of detail. Being a scientist myself, but not a historian, I found a historian's perspective on science particularly helpful.
Secondary schools might consider making this book (possibly with a different title) compulsory reading because, in a light hearted way, it both gives insight into how science actually works - as opposed to how people think it works, and also makes science seem appealing in a way that secondary schools often fail to do.
Intended to be a fun read rather than a serious reference book, this book nevertheless includes inventions and discoveries that are still of relevance today, and has also proved to be a source of entertaining and educational discussions at family mealtimes.
This book follows a very simple format: it just gives a large number of very short anecdotes regarding various aspects of scientific discovery. Most are 1-3 pages long and so are eminently digestible. Structured by a rough theme (which get more tenuous as the book goes on) it makes for quite a good "coffee table" book that be picked up and dipped into at any time. I chose to read it cover to cover, however there is no master narrative that necessitates this approach.
It has to be pointed out that the author is one of the researchers for the tv show, QI, and the style of writing is very much in that vein. In fact, some of the stories in the book I have heard Stephen Fry read almost word-for-word from his crib cards. So if you like QI then this should appeal to you.
As far as science writing goes, it very basic and does not require any expertise in order to be able follow. However, the author has committed one cardinal sin of science writing by not including any references whatsoever. All we have to rely on are his word that he did some unspecified research, but has not named his sources, which does cast a shadow over the reliability of the anecdotes contained therein.
That said, being a scientist myself, some were very familiar to me and almost all that I was familiar with already were accurate. Due to the brevity of the stories, some important details were missed off, and I noticed these particularly in the last section of the book when it came to the stories about Galileo and Mendel, which causes them to be slightly inaccurate.
With that small aside, this was an enjoyable and informative read. You don't have to be into science to enjoy it, and enjoy it you most certainly should.
This is an entertaining book which takes the reader a little bit further than the TV program it emanates from. It contains a wealth of humorous human story behind the scientists which was the backbone of Python, Goodies etc. comedy void on TV presently. Whatever happened to finance for films such as The Road to Wellville? Any Director/script writer inspired by any of the stories in this book could easily story board a tale which would bring back the good old days of light entertainment, as opposed to the depressive/sociological soaps trying to emulate the modern life of ordinary people, as seen through the ‘literarty’.