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The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science: 50 Experiments for Daring Young Scientists Hardcover – AC-3, May 5, 2010


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The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science: 50 Experiments for Daring Young Scientists + The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science: 64 Daring Experiments for Young Scientists + Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1160L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (May 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761156879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761156871
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-10–Perhaps picking up on a trend started by Conn and Hal Iggulden's The Dangerous Book for Boys (Collins, 2007), this volume features a sensational title and lurid, retro cover art that might suggest a shallow and gimmicky package, once cracked. It's not. Instead, the content is solid and compelling. The premise is that all of humankind's greatest milestones in science and engineering have entailed risks and courage on the part of the innovators. Starting with Stone Age tools and ending with a Hadron Collider, each chapter details a historic leap forward in scientific understanding and explains what the potential downsides of those discoveries were. Potential catastrophic consequences include persecution for heresy, the very real risks of self-injury or death in the process of discovery, and the reality that almost every beneficial scientific discovery can also be tapped to create efficient means for humans to kill one another. As such, it's an illuminating survey. Unfortunately, kids who see the cover urging them to "try these experiments at home" and listing them as "smashing atoms, making gunpowder, firing rockets, and raising the dead," might be a little disappointed when the actual "experiments" turn out to be tamer–and sometimes lamer–analogous demonstrations of the concepts put forth in each chapter.Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

From the author of The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science (2008), this volume approaches science historically, spotlighting certain periods, processes, individuals, discoveries, and inventions. Each of the 34 chapters includes a discussion and one or two related activities, such as making a Stone Age tool, creating an earthquake in Jell-O, building a parachute for an egg drop, and extracting a banana's DNA. Safety concerns are addressed for each project, and adult help will be necessary to complete some of the experiments successfully. Though the photos and cartoon-style drawings work well, several elements of the book's design are off-putting: the use of pistachio-green and purplish-gray background colors on the pages, the occasional graph-paper-like squares underlying the text, and the small black squares running up the pages' outer margins. While there is no back matter, not even an index, Connolly's writing is engaging, and the historical approach works well, offering kids a quick introduction to science history and the opportunity to explore certain ideas along the way. Grades 5-8. --Carolyn Phelan

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Customer Reviews

I got this book for my daughter how loves science.
Chrissy Lomas
It's edgy enough for the middle school crowd and easy enough for younger kids if they have adult supervision.
razzygirl
Good over view of the history involved in many area of science, many in physics.
R. Boone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Zelda Fan on March 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book has the worst experiments i've ever done. The cover says "hey kids, try these experiments at home! Smashing atoms! making gunpowder! Firing rockets! Using Lasers!" and a few more things. the experiments are actually microwaving marshmallows, putting an iron nail im vinegar, making a bike pump powered rocket out of a plastic bottle, and shining a flashlight across a table. theres this thing called the catastrophe meter that goes from ! to !!!!, ! being no risk, and !!!! involves use of hot stuff. One experiment is a !!!! because you could spill flour. You would be better off with the "Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry" by Robert Bruce Thompson
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The website states grades 5-10, but my 8th grader found the book boring. One experiment was to rub a balloon on someone's hair for static electricity. Very elementary. We are returning the book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By rintintin on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Received as a gift for the kids. They loved it...easy and fun. They've worked their way through a good number of the experiments, some alone and some with friends. Keeps them off the computer....
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By razzygirl on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a well edited book that has history, biography and other relevant background along with some pretty cool experiments. It's edgy enough for the middle school crowd and easy enough for younger kids if they have adult supervision. My neighbor, a teacher, "borrowed" it for a week. I had to order another!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Deb on August 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. My 10 year old son has carried this book around with him ALL summer long. If you have a boy who is into making "dangerous" ;-) things, this is the book for him.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ruth J. Griffith on July 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a clever book to demonstrate basic laws of science using items that are right around the house or easily available.
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By brad5d on July 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What I like is the anthropological context given before the experiments. I bought this book to facilitate teaching and learning
Science ,Technology,Engineering and Math(STEM) and I believe that books like this one serve as a guide toward that goal.
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By L. Bisson on March 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My nine year old son bought this for his 11 y.o. brother for Christmas. The book has a fun and playful layout which my son loves. The explanations that come with the experiments make me happy (Dad) and the experiments' fun factor make the boys happy.
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The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science: 50 Experiments for Daring Young Scientists
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