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Inflight Science: A Guide to the World From Your Airplane Window

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1848312418
ISBN-10: 1848312415
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Editorial Reviews


'What a lovely little book this is: the ultimate holiday read before the holiday's even begun... Author Brian Clegg clearly understands that science is only as dry as the ivy-covered professors who make it so.' -- Word Magazine 'This is science simplified, surprising and entertaining.' -- Choice Magazine 'Everything you were afraid (very afraid) to ask is explained in this brilliant guide to the science of getting into the air, staying there and landing.' -- Iain Finlayson, Saga "Inflight Science,' by Brian Clegg, is essentially an eye-spy book for adults. After passing through the traumas and trials of security (where it is unlikely, you will be pleased to learn, to get enough of an X-ray dose to damage your DNA), and settling the kids to watch movies on their seatback screen (the LCD TV, by the way, relies on the same technology as sunglasses) this book will take you through the rest of your journey. Despite the odd alarming fact it is not, however, designed to scare one off flying. Quite the reverse: its intention is to inform - fitting into that publishing niche somewhere between hard science and Schott's Miscellany that was so successfully exploited by books such as 'The CloudSpotter's Guide.' The great strength of the book is its ability to pull out from the mundane experiences of modern air travel - the contrails and cumulonimbus, the security scanners and salted snacks - to explain a wider technical point.' -- Times '...we should be grateful for this book from Brian Clegg, an unabashed aircraft geek. Everything about aircraft seems to fascinate him: how much they weigh, how their lavatories work, how they affect our bodies. His curiosity extends to airports, which he turns into pleasure palaces full of little-known facts rather than the dull shopping malls we normally take them to be. His book is structured as a representative flight, from check-in to customs, in which at every turn he micro-analyses the technical and scientific aspects of the experience. I consider myself reasonably competent on matters aeronautical, but he still managed to surprise me with something new on every page. For example, he digresses on why there will never be electric aircraft. The reason is that to carry the same amount of energy as 10kg of jet fuel, you'd need one ton of batteries... With this book in hand, we have all we need to set off on our next flight with our eyes open to the sheer wonder of what is involved.' -- Alain de Botton, Mail on Sunday 'Clegg's foray into the science of air travel should be awarded some precious space in your hand luggage ... The beauty of the book ... lies in the way it makes you see the world afresh, learning about the way things work.' -- Erika Burrows, Engineering & Technology 'Each paragraph makes the world of science easier.' -- Statesman 'The perfect non-fiction equivalent of an airport novel.' -- Sunday Star Times 'Light but informative ... fun and accessible and the perfect book to read on your travels ... it'll leave you marvelling at the science and engineering that goes into flying.' -- Laboratory News "Inflight Science' catches the current wave of Brian Cox-approved popular science ... for those who are interested in the way things work, and have seen the films on offer on board, it's a pleasant way of riding out the bumps.' -- Rebecca Nicholson, Sunday Times 'An engaging guide for the unscientific to every aspect of your flight.' -- Sunday Times '['Inflight Science'] is a revelation ... In short, a whole new world of flying opens up.' -- The Scientific and Medical Network 'Imagine Leonardo da Vinci seated next to you on an airplane... Brian Clegg attempts to restore something of the lost wonder of air travel ... even as Leonardo, so fascinated by science, might have done ... leav[ing] his readers improved for the journey and filled with a renewed sense of curiosity toward the wonders out their window.' -- Wall Street Journal 'If flying in an airplane has left you with questions, Clegg will have the answers you're looking for and then some.' -- Publisher's Weekly 'In other discussions of everything from jet engines to jet lag, Clegg both fascinates and informs.' -- Science News 'There's much to be learned in this book, for both young and old.' -- British Airways Business Life

About the Author

Brian Clegg: Brian Clegg is the author of a number of popular science titles including The God Effect, Before the Big Bang and the forthcoming How to Build a Time Machine (2011), all from St. Martin's Press. He is a science writer living in Wiltshire, England, and runs


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848312415
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848312418
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian's most recent books are Dice World and Extra Sensory. He has written a range of other science titles, including the bestselling Inflight Science, The God Effect, Before the Big Bang, Ecologic, A Brief History of Infinity and Build Your Own Time Machine.

Along with appearances at the Royal Institution in London he has spoken at venues from Oxford and Cambridge Universities to Cheltenham Festival of Science, has contributed to radio and TV programmes, and is a popular speaker at schools. Brian is also editor of the successful book review site and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Brian has Masters degrees from Cambridge University in Natural Sciences and from Lancaster University in Operational Research, a discipline originally developed during the Second World War to apply the power of mathematics to warfare. It has since been widely applied to problem solving and decision making in business.

Brian has also written regular columns, features and reviews for numerous publications, including Nature, The Guardian, PC Week, Computer Weekly, Personal Computer World, The Observer, Innovative Leader, Professional Manager, BBC History, Good Housekeeping and House Beautiful. His books have been translated into many languages, including German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, Norwegian, Thai and even Indonesian.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John the Reader on September 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Firstly, a quote from the Author, English Scientist Brian Clegg; "Too many people find science dull and uninspiring. It shouldn't be. It's about how everything works. Us,our world, our universe. Its life and death stuff. But the sad fact is that science is often presented in a lifeless, unexciting way."

This book is a great example of his point - it is science, but presented in a readable, clear way - so that the science is understood. The books structure is simple, we are asked to suppose we are taking a trip on a `plane. From the check-in, through security to the gate ... each experience confronts us with an item of technology. The x-ray machines and scanners, of pre-boarding to the eventual (often after that interminable wait at the gate) to push-back and the actual flight. At each stage the science, theories, and invention of the deployed technology is explained, often with amusing side-bars of direct examples and simple (very) experiments to prove out the narrative's explanation.

In-flight Clegg explains the function of Radar, flight-controls, the theory of lift - and encourages us to fly our own paper airplane - and even explores some visual archeology from the air.

Quite simply, this book was a joy to read and the style brought back memories of the Popular Science magazine that, as a young boy, I so eagerly awaited each month.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Allen on November 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an OK book but it is mostly very basic information that a person with a well rounded education will already know. Would be a good gift for a middle-school student.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ameel Zia Khan on August 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a really fun book. The science itself wasn't very advanced (being a geek I aleady knew a lot of what was in there) but it was written well and included lots of practical 'experiments' that you can do while sitting in your seat. In some ways, this is a high school science book for adults (but in a good way!).
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