Atoms Under the Floorboards is now in paperback!
If you like what you've read on Explain that Stuff, you're going to love my new book, Atoms under the Floorboards: The Surprising Science Hidden in Your Home, which is published worldwide by Bloomsbury (the guys who gave us Harry Potter).
From the bookshelf that's always dusty to the shiny shoes on your feet, I take you on a whistle-stop tour of your home, revealing fascinating science secrets like...
- How many "pedalling" hamsters would you need to boil the water for a coffee?
- How did a "worm" play a part in the history of radio?
- Why can't you cook your dinner with a cellphone?
- Why can you see through windows but not through walls?
- Why does your laptop get hot when its only moving part is the cooling fan?
- What's the connection between a wedding dress, a suspension bridge, and a bicycle?
Just like Explain that Stuff, it's an easy read for non-scientists—adults and teenagers—and there's little or no math.
So what's inside this book?
Atoms Under the Floorboards is about 300 pages long, has 60 black-and-white artworks to liven things up a bit, and there's a short section of notes and further reading at the end to help you dig deeper into the bits that interest you.
There are 18 chapters—and here's a taster of the kinds of things they cover:
- Firm foundations: Why don't buildings fall down? Why do skyscrapers deliberately wobble in the wind?
- Upstairs downstairs: Everything you ever wanted to know about energy, including: How many hamsters running on wheels would you need to launch a rocket or haul a train?
- Superheroics: You might not think you're a superhero, but science can turn you into one! How do wheels really work... and why is Isaac Newton the best swimming teacher?
- The beauty of bikes: Why are cyclists like fish? Can shaving your legs really make you go faster?
- Car crazy: Why is your car like a chemistry lab on wheels? Why have electric cars still not caught on?
- Sticky stuff: How do glues really work? Why can you lift a person with one drop of superglue?
- The inside story: How do we know atoms exist if we can't see them?
- Amazing glazing: What's the science behind windows that clean themselves... and sunglasses that darken automatically outdoors?
- Saggy sofas, squeaky floors: Why do sofas sag and faces wrinkle? Why do floorboards squeak?
- Light delights: Why can't we see light? Why do polished shoes shine like mirrors?
- Radio gaga: Who was the "worm" who helped to invent radio? How did the Victorians almost invent mobile phones?
- Living by numbers: How can you send a photo down a phone line? Is it better to buy MP3s or CDs?
- Blowing hot and cold: How can you heat your home with nothing more than a candle? How can you make instant ice cream?
- Food miles: Is it true that you could "go to work on an egg"? Could we ever make an energy pill that gives us all the daily nutrition we need?
- Stirring stuff: What links wind turbines, dusty bookshelves, dirty cars, and rubbery custard?
- Water, water: What makes a drain gurgle—and how does that help us understand how pens work?
- Stain games: How can science get your jeans clean? Why can you dry clothes outdoors even in winter?
- Dressing to impress: Why don't sheep shiver in the cold? Why do jeans always wear out at the knees?
Like to read a sample?
- Here's a browsable sample of Chapter 5: Car Crazy, which is all about the science of cars. This will only work if your browser supports Flash.
- Yahoo! recently published an extract from that chapter as Why Your Car is a Chemistry Lab on Wheels. This will work on any device.
- You'll find a preview of the ebook on Google books. This will work on any device.
What do reviewers say?
Atoms Under the Floorboards won The American Institute of Physics Science Writing Awards for Books 2016 and was named one of Physics World's Top 10 Physics Books of 2015!
“Chris Woodford's book stands out, both for its clarity and for the unusual phenomena he explains... Each short chapter contains gems of lucid, accessible science writing... Atoms Under the Floorboards is so well written that one can happily read it from cover to cover... both enjoyable and informative.”
Cary Seidman, NSTA Recommends, July 2015.
- "The author's engaging narrative simplifies even the most complex of scientific phenomena to the point that anyone, from the person who hasn't been in a science class since high school to the PhD scientist, will be able to gain knowledge and enjoyment out of this book."—John Kromer, Library Journal, May 2015.
- "In a mere 300 pages or so, 'Atoms Under the Floorboards' provides elegant answers to questions so obvious it’s likely you’ve never thought of them... plenty here to interest those curious about the scientific underpinnings of the modern world."—William Gurstelle, Wall Street Journal, June 2015.
- "Mostly the result is phenomenal... a fun, light hearted science book that you could give to a teenager, or the sort of person who doesn't really read popular science but would like to find out a bit more about the scientific world around them - and I think they'll have a good time."—Brian Clegg, Popularscience.co.uk, March 2015.
- "... many delights in this fun and accessible book, which is written for a general audience... The best part of the book, though, is the sense of imagination it brings to everyday phenomena."—Margaret Harris, Physics World, August 2015.
- "With a lively, straightforward tone and high-interest topic, this will both amuse and fascinate teen science junkies."—David Pitt, Booklist, May 2015.
- "The reader is bound to get puzzled at first, then intrigued and ultimately hooked as the book hurtles past theories in physics and biology as well as civil, mechanical, chemical and electrical engineering... Read this book to reawaken your curiosity."—Debarghya Sanyal, Business Standard (India), July 2015.
- "This book entertains the reader with all the interesting facts of science related to the boring life around you."—Deccan Herald (India), June 2015.
- "... vastly informative... does explain some astonishing things."—Vivien Horler, Cape Argus (South Africa), July 2015.
- "... the book that should be given to every high school science teacher as curriculum support... the most accessible and enjoyable tour through the average house and the stuff found inside it... a pleasure to read good science clearly demystified."—Sue Townsend, Cape Times (South Africa), 17 July 2015.
- "... a brilliant read for any enthusiastic young scientists, or perhaps secondary-school science teachers looking for some creative analogies to help explain difficult concepts... For anyone wanting a fresh perspective and some detailed insight into even the most seemingly mundane of objects, it's a must-read."—Jamie Durrani, Chemistry World (Royal Society of Chemistry), 8 June 2016.
- "... excellent example of science writing for the public."—The American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award for Books, 6 October 2016.
Buy it now!
"Atoms" is available worldwide in hardback, paperback, and as an ebook. Here's a selection of places where you can find it right now:
- Independent bookstores
- Angus & Robertson (Australia)
- Barnes & Noble/Nook
- Book Depository
- Flipkart (India)
- Foyles (UK)
- Google Play
- Hive (UK)
- Waterstones (UK)
- WH Smith (UK)