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Vacuum Bazookas, Electric Rainbow Jelly, and 27 Other Saturday Science Projects. Paperback – October 14, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Downie runs a weird-science club in England that, through the construction of Goldbergian gadgets, teaches kids the physical principles behind technology. In these recipes, he exhibits a playful attitude that disarms any hesitation about cannibalizing everyday stuff--radio-controlled toys, for example--for the quite basic gear that many of Downie's projects require. Most illustrate the physics of waves or mechanics, and for the hard-core gadgeteer, Downie appends to each project an explanation of the mathematics describing what's going on with, say, a rotating, ribless umbrella, but every project is built around inspiring delight and wonder. There is an upgrade of the classic cups-and-string telecom technology, which Downie calls the string radio. He illustrates the basic idea of modern smart-bomb warfare in the shape of a (perfectly safe) guided carpet missile, and throughout he sprinkles a number of amusingly useless labor-saving devices: Anybody need a string-driven nutcracker? A fertile and funny idea-book for the Erector set crowd. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This is great interactive stuff, amusingly written by a British scientist who honed his skills conducting a Saturday activity center for kids. . . . As well as the fun there is science too, equations and all."--Douglas Palmer, New Scientist

"A fertile and funny idea-book for the Erector set crowd."--Booklist

"A fascinating new book. . . . The style is eclectic and interesting. . . . It brings together practical, accessible physics with a gentle amount of theory in an entertaining and educational manner. There is much here that will both stimulate a curiosity about physics and help with good--if not inspirational--physics teaching."--Physics World
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691009864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691009865
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,157,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By W. Watson on November 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've only had this book for a few days, but have found the projects unusual and offbeat. For the most part, they are not a rehash of old science projects. They are well described and each one has a good description of the science and math behind them. The illustrations are not overly detailed, but they do the job quite well. I found it a little odd that the description of what the project is about is separated from the chapter on the project. The summaries of what is interesting about the projects and simply what they do is in the front of the book. If you open to a project within the book, you'll wonder what the real appeal of the project is until you go to the front of the book.
The author is quite a tinkerer and at least one of the project toys is patented. I believe a few others are heading toward patents.
Several projects require access to a small amount of Mecanno (or Erector) set parts. These companies almost do not exist it the U.S. any longer. However, Brio recently started distributing Erector sets again. I'm sure one could find substitutes for the Mecanno parts at a local hardware store or maybe even make them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. F. K. Schweighardt on October 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Neil Downie has developed another outstanding summary of science projects/challenges for all ages. At this time, when bcominig a scientist may not be the #1 career--- these projects get the attention of the student,parent and teacher alike. The opportunity to try, fail and try again--usually ends in success. We need this type of approach to encourgae our children to consider science as a career.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Hitchins on April 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
The technical language was easily understood and presented in a clear interesting manner.

Mr Downie has inspired me to have a real go at these projects.

As we say in New Zealand "Sweet As".
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