In an entertaining and mostly readable (but definitely not simple) format, Levy explores a variety of questions that teens may ponder.
Why is the sky blue? Why can’t we breathe underwater? Why can’t we travel faster than light? Why does iron rust? These are some of the 50 questions explored in this sometimes rather challenging text. Each question is answered briefly, and then the answer is expanded into several paragraphs of more detailed information. For example, in the section on rust: “the electrons come from a piece of metal called an anode. The anode combines with oxygen and releases an electron, which travels through a fluid called an electrolyte.” Although the explanations can require careful reading, many include vivid, simplified examples that reveal scientific principles without adding unnecessary confusion: “Imagine a crowd of people concentrated in a field, each person tied to the others,” begins the section explaining the hydrostatic equilibrium involved in making the Earth round. Considering the complexity of the answers, this effort is not likely to appeal to all readers, but those with a scientific bent and inquiring minds may enjoy it. Given the wide range of topics, it’s probably better for browsing than report writing.
Packed with detail and brimming with trivia, but best saved for a sophisticated audience. (Nonfiction. 11-18)