Asimo demo at the Ontario Science Centre

Me holding a chunk of Aerojel

Book Review: The Ultimate Book of Everyday Science

Remember when I was so excited that I met Jay Ingram? Well the reason I met him was because he had just finished writing his new book The Ultimate Book of Everyday Science. He then went to the Ontario Science Centre as the first stop in a book tour that will go across Canada. I happened to be at the OSC when he was doing this book signing/presentation so I decided not to leave and stay and watch. So I bought his book, and then watched him do a 30 min presentation, and then got him to sign my book! And I got a picture with him…awesome.

Anyway, he wrote the book in commemoration of the 15th year Daily planet has been running. That’s right Daily Planet started in 1995, and out of the more than 3000 shows they have aired, they have met some REALLY interesting people, doing some really interesting science. This book highlighted some of the most interesting, quirky, fun, imaginative, and COOL science and technology experiments that Daily Planet has covered during its time on-air. I must admit, while I absolutely love the Daily Planet show, I don’t get to see it as often as I want. So this book was great in more ways than one. It gave me a more in-depth look at the shows breadth of coverage.
The theme of the book is: Ingenuity, Imagination, and Invention. This is the trademark of Daily Planet too, but really the book and the show are one in the same. The book is broken down into chapters like ‘Making Cool Things’ and ‘How Animals Work.’ Jay relates his own feelings and memories of the various stories he covers.
One of my favourite stories from the book is the gentlemen from Michigan who took it upon himself to demonstrate that with simple tools, simple physics, and three 8700 Kg concrete blocks ONE person could have built stonehenge. Another one that’s awesome is the scientists and veteranarians that built a prosthetic beak for an american Bald Eagle.
The stories are rich with people who are genuinely interested in the fun side of science. They do it because they love it, and their passion and imagination leaps off the pages. I have to admit, the book is inspiring. Not for the science that occurs throughout its pages, but for the people who did it.
This book was a lot of fun, and very light reading. There are many BIG high resolution pictures that draw you into the stories. Jay is a great writer, and very personable.
I highly recommend.
An interesting thing I picked up from his presentation. Someone had asked a question during the Q/A period afterwards, and Jay went on a tagent about something, ending up on how they record the show. He said that many days they finish taping the show only minutes before the show airs, and there have been times that he was still recording segments for the end of the show while the public was already watching the beginning of the show. What a job he has…how did he find time to write a book? (Hint: he acknowledges MANY people at the end).
happy reading!