The #1 New York Times bestselling author of What If? and How To answers more of the weirdest questions you never thought to ask
The millions of people around the world who read and loved What If? still have questions, and those questions are getting stranger. Thank goodness xkcd creator Randall Munroe is here to help. Planning to ride a fire pole from the Moon back to Earth? The hardest part is sticking the landing. Hoping to cool the atmosphere by opening everyone’s freezer door at the same time? Maybe it’s time for a brief introduction to thermodynamics. Want to know what would happen if you rode a helicopter blade, built a billion-story building, made a lava lamp out of lava, or jumped on a geyser as it erupted? Okay, if you insist.
Before you go on a cosmic road trip, feed the residents of New York City to a T. rex, or fill every church with bananas, be sure to consult this practical guide for impractical ideas. Unfazed by absurdity, Munroe consults the latest research on everything from swing-set physics to airliner catapult–design to answer his readers’ questions, clearly and concisely, with illuminating and occasionally terrifying illustrations. As he consistently demonstrates, you can learn a lot from examining how the world might work in very specific extreme circumstances.
About the Author
Randall Munroe is the author of the number one New York Times bestsellers How To, What If? and Thing Explainer; the science question-and-answer blog What If?; and the popular web comic xkcd. A former NASA roboticist, he left the agency in 2006 to draw comics on the internet full time. He lives in Massachusetts.
Praise for Randall Munroe and What If?
“What If? is one of my Internet must-reads, and I look forward to each new installment, and always read it with delight.” —Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
“Randall Munroe is a national treasure.” —Phil Plait
“Extreme astrophysics and indecipherable chemistry have rarely been this clearly explained or this consistently hilarious.” —Entertainment Weekly “10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Year”
“Consistently fascinating and entertaining...Munroe leavens the hard science with whimsical touches... An illuminating handbook of methods of reasoning.” —Wall Street Journal
“It’s fun to watch as Munroe tackles each question and examines every possible complication with nerdy and methodical aplomb.... The delightfully demented What If? is the most fun you can have with math and science, short of becoming your own evil genius.” —Boston Globe
“With his steady regimen of math jokes, physics jokes, and antisocial optimism, xkcd creator Randall Munroe, a former NASA roboticist, scores traffic numbers in NBC.com or Oprah.com territory. One key to the strip’s success may be that it doesn’t just comment on nerd culture, it embodies nerd culture.” —Wired, in an issue featuring “the people who have shaped the planet’s past 20 years”