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Mad Science: Einstein's Fridge, Dewar's Flask, Mach's Speed, and 362 Other Inventions and Discoveries that Made Our World Hardcover – November 13, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0316208192 ISBN-10: 0316208191 Edition: 0th

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Mad Science: Einstein's Fridge, Dewar's Flask, Mach's Speed, and 362 Other Inventions and Discoveries that Made Our World + Encyclopedia Paranoiaca + The Onion Book of Known Knowledge: A Definitive Encyclopaedia Of Existing Information
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316208191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316208192
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Math whizzes will already have deduced from the book’s subtitle that there are 365 inventions and discoveries represented here. That’s no accident: the book is designed like a desktop calendar in which each page tells you something new. Such as January 3, 1957, was the debut of the battery-powered watch, after more than a decade of development. And, on April 10, 1849, the safety pin was patented (revolutionizing, among many other things, the way babies’ diapers are changed). And, on October 31, 1951, pedestrian crossings were introduced in Britain (they call them zebra crossings due to their black-and-white stripes). Drawn from Wired magazine’s blog This Day in Tech, this endlessly fascinating book is simply presented: each page contains a primary subject, a brief discussion of its history and importance, and one-sentence mentions of some other important things that happened on the same date. Its only drawback—though no drawback at all for libraries—is that, unlike a typical desktop calendar, you can’t tear off one page when it’s time to move on to the next. --David Pitt

Review

"Pure delight. Where else do baseball, birth control and postage stamps come together? Mad Science follows the thread of science and technology through the fabric of our everyday lives." -- Richard Hart, Next Step TV, Technology Journalist

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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My thanks to Wired and Mr. Alfred.
Gerald
I say this is a great book for short durations of reading because each segment is interesting, yet short and to the point.
Jeff Commissaris
Amazing science stories, lots of them.
Charles P. Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gerald on November 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first two reviewers have essentially said it all. This book is fascinating from cover to cover, and wonderful in all aspects -- the breezy, clear writing; the enjoyable illustrations; the supplemental info about other things that happened on that day/in that year. For me, the greatest impact was not from the individual stories, fascinating and wonderful though they are, but from the overall awareness that I am surrounded by things that I take for granted but which once didn't exist and had to be invented and produced by someone. As obvious as this awareness seems, it's something I can too easily forget. I feel like I'm much more aware and appreciative now than I was before I got this book. My thanks to Wired and Mr. Alfred.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Castleman on November 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the ultimate bathroom book. Each page link one calendar day to one tech event, totaling 366 educational, entertaining, positively delightful stories--yes, February 29 is in there, with the story of how Julius Caesar invented leap year. Mad Science emerged from a blog in Wired Magazine, "This Day in Tech," and it certainly has great appeal for techies. But the real beauty of this fascinating, well-written, beautifully edited book is its great appeal for non-geeks. Science has touched our lives in so many ways that we often forget how ubiquitous it is in all the everyday things we take for granted. From proto-bicycles to Rubik's cube, Dom Perignon to the saxophone, safety pins to drive-in movies, the great breadth of Mad Science takes readers on a magical history tour of the modern world with all of its wonders and woes. Two thumbs way up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Allison on December 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've worked my way thru the first 1/3 of this little book, mostly while on the treadmill or bike at the gym. Makes my exercise time fly by. Lots of interesting facts and trivia about subjects most of us know at least "something" about. Good way to relax and still pick up some fun information.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Josquin on December 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Byte sized bits of science by the day. Written with a light touch and a bit of humor (OK, tickle me Gugliemo - Marconi - is a bit over the top).

Who knew that time zones were standardized because of the railroads? (yeah that's what they mean by railroad time). Did you know that the first gravity roller coaster designed for an amusement park opened almost 130 years ago? (in Coney Island). That the safety pin was invented to pay off a 15 dollar debt?

Read Mad Science and you will have daily doses of science trivia to put down that insufferable know-it-all in the office and to dispense at cocktail parties. It a delightful, entertaining read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Commissaris on January 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I say this is a great book for short durations of reading because each segment is interesting, yet short and to the point. This makes for great factual reading and the next bookmark is never too far away. This book on science around the world covers everything from the first humans landing on the moon to the invention of birth control.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles P. Miller on November 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amazing science stories, lots of them. Great to pick up for a quick hit of science. Start with today's date, or your birthday. I have long been pleased with Edison's and my birthday being the same day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Mad Science: Einstein's Fridge, Dewar's Flask, Mach's Speed,
and 362 Other Inventions and Discoveries that Made Our World by
Randy Alfred is a compendium of important scientific achievements
that go back centuries in some cases. The presentation is interesting
and informative for a wide constituency of readers in the arts and
sciences.

For instance, the author shows how the first light was produced in Roselle,
New Jersey through the use of overhead wires in 1883. On January 23, 1960,
the Trieste lowered 7 miles beneath the surface to the deepest point on earth
in the Marianas Trench.

Alfred shows how modern genetics was impacted when Mendel read the first
paper on February 8, 1965. A few years later in 1887, Mach explained the
idea of supersonic flow. In essence, shock waves form at supersonic speeds.

Alfred researched the history of the steam powered engine by documenting
how Tom Newcomen invented a prototype on February 24, 1664. Years later,
Alessandro Volta invented the wet cell battery on March 20, 1800.

Modern medicine was impacted when Robert Koch discovered the TB
bacillus on March 24, 1882. A few years later, Alfred explains how Felix
Hoffman invented aspirin on March 6, 1899.

Mad Science: Einstein's Fridge, Dewar's Flask, Mach's Speed, and 362 Other
Inventions and Discoveries that Made Our World by Randy Alfred is an
important work for students, teachers, geeks, non-geeks, journalists and
a wide constituency of readers everywhere.

The presentation is interesting and engaging. In addition, this work could
be employed by journalists for fact-checking purposes. The book is well
written and concise.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank M. Robinson on November 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The most fascinating book of the year is Mad Science (ASIN 978-0-316-20819-2 Mad Science hardcover $19.99 edited by Randy Alfred.)

This is a must for scientists, technicians, students and even--or maybe especially--science fiction buffs. The book lists what happened in science and technology (as well as science-connected historical events) for every day of the year. January 1 is notable for the first day of the Gregorian Calendar, replacing the old Julian calendar. The Julian was celebrated in Russia through 1918 which means the Soviets celebrated the October revolution in November. And oh, yeah, at the bottom of the page editor Randy Alfred tells us aspirin in tablet form showed up on Janujary 1, 1915.

Harvard and IBM dedicated the Mark 1 computer August 7, 1944, the electric motor started up November 27, 1834. Science fiction fans have the date memorized but for those who haven't, the first episode of "Star Trek was broadcast September 8, 1966 (live long and prosper, Captain Kirk!)

A facinating book to browse through.
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