“The Science of Why2” by Jay Ingram
c.2017, Simon & Schuster
$24.99 / $29.99 Canada
It’s a common question, rather informal, with roots that go back centuries: how did something come to be? In other words… why? Why is this, that? How come you can or can’t? Or, as in “The Science of Why2” by Jay Ingram, how do various branches of science explain things?
News flash: you don’t know everything. You might think you do but, no, you don’t, and that’s where “The Science of Why2” comes in. Jay Ingram is about to school you on the things you didn’t learn in school.
Is it possible, for instance, to bring back dinosaurs, like in the movies? The why not is interesting but what’s better is why woolly mammoths may be a different story. So is the tale of why ancient people might not’ve had the color blue.
Closer to home — real close, in fact — did you ever wonder why you hiccup? Yep, the answer’s in here, and so is a good remedy for them. You’ll also learn why you can’t tickle yourself and why you really shouldn’t want to.
On the subject of your body and its weirdness, Ingram explains what two things you have in common with pretty much every mammal over seven pounds. He also explains why you should wash, wash, wash your hands after using the restroom and why (eeuw) you’ll never want to go into a public pool again after you’ve read a certain chapter.
Did you ever get lost in the woods? There’s a reason for that, and it’s in this book. So is the ultra-cool reason why your knuckles go snap when you crack them. And while you’re at it, take a v-e-r-y deep breath when you read about Julius Caesar and molecules…
How do electric eels shock their prey? It’s an important question, solved by this book. So is the deep mystery of why toast always falls butter-side down. You’ll learn how humans fly, in a way; why you should never drop a wood frog in the wintertime; and why your average elephant would lose at Double Dutch…
Did you ever notice how one idle thought usually leads to another one? That’s what you get inside “The Science of Why2” — a few answers to things you’ve deeply contemplated, followed by a whole lot of fun facts about things you’ve never heard ‘til now.
Yes, it’s presented in a lighthearted, sometimes funny manner, but author Jay Ingram’s solutions to the questions posed are serious, science-based things you’ll want to drop into conversation. The best, perhaps most enjoyable part is that this book feels like a free-wheeling, mind-wandering exercise: dinosaurs lead to DNA leads to cloning leads to ostriches leads to the preservation of wildlife.
Science can be lively that way, and never boring.
As for this book and your teen, keep in mind that there’s a chapter in here on hangover cures. It’s otherwise perfect for any adult who appreciates serious fun, and you know you want “The Science of Why2” yourself. So come and get it.