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 TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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"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