SCIENCE IN EVERYDAY LIFE by William C. Vergara

SCIENCE IN EVERYDAY LIFE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A random collection of questions and answers about almost every possible ""elegy"" from anthropology to cosmology. The questions range from the inconsequential--""Why are dyes not removed by washing?""--to the profound: ""How did civilization begin?"" There are questions most people vaguely know the answer to--""How are colored fireworks made?"" ""What is meant by the Richter scale?""; and there are those even the most inquiring mind would be unlikely to consider--""Who invented adobe brick?""--or unlikely to phrase the way Vergara has: ""Are our water wells running dry?"" There is considerable information here since most of the answers are not common knowledge, but getting the information is difficult. The book has no apparent organization: an evaluation of speed reading follows an explanation of why insects are less active in cold weather. The result is not to encourage browsing--Vergara's expressed intent--so much as bewilderment. The tone of the book is also confusing. It is to the author's credit that he anticipates most of the scientific terms a layman would not understand; and, given limited space, he explains them clearly. But his step-by-step explanations and liberal use of phrases like ""we might think"" give the book a distracting breathless quality as if Vergara were addressing a group of wide-eyed elementary-school children. Consequently the book will likely appeal more to bright youngsters than to curious adults. And although Vergara's facts seem accurate, there are no footnotes nor references to attest to their authenticity.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1980
Publisher: Harper & Row