I love going to the Festival of the Spoken Nerd live shows, but do sometimes find myself getting a little left behind by explanations of the experiments I witness Self guided experimentation by way of The Element In The Room is therefore perfect for me I can reread the scientific whys and hows enough times that the information actually lodges in my brain rather than skimming off into the distance The Element In The Room includes much of what is most fun about FotSN live shows the humour, the tangential leaps of subject, and there s even a song It is geared towards the home though and I have been enjoying trying out experiments in our caravan I hadn t previously considered what a good laboratory it makes, but we have turmeric and noodles and I can cook up a curry Making a grill pan chime like Big Ben is particularly impressive in such a small room On the downside, poor Dave has had to listen to me recounting Quite Interesting facts and misremembered theories for the best part of a week He s now reading The Element In The Room for himself and looking forward to extracting DNA from strawberries sometime soon.If you re fascinated by the world around us and like your science based in practical experimentation, this could be the perfect book for you too. Tickled pink to get my grubby mitts on an advance copy of this book, courtesy Festival of the Spoken Nerd, You Can t Polish a Nerd, Bristol DI ve loved sciencey mathsy nerdy stuff from as far back as I can remember Three particular influences on childhood nerd me were PBS s mathematics flavoured show Square One and Vicki Cobb s books Science Experiments You Can Eat and How To Really Fool Yourself The Element in the Room is the adult manifestation of these beloved things Arney and Mould capture the playful, creative curiosity that drives science exploration and present solid, scientific results in a hilariously well written style If all scholarly science papers were written like this, everyone would be a scientist thoroughly washed in hot soapy water I m not entirely sure I m the right audience for this, but I still enjoyed it.I ve not seen the Spoken Nerd, but it s been mentioned a few times to me, esp given my love of the Infinite Monkey Cage podcast.This is of a similar vein, but the science is a lot simplified, being concerned with every day things, rather than the rarefied cosmology It doesn t read like a science book though, it s loaded with jokes, digessions, and little comments, that make the entire book a joy Also included are lots of little experiments you can try out at home Some of which would be than suitable for kids, a couple adult orientated, however there is a warning saying the experiments should not be carried out by unsupervised children or irresponsible adults.I m not sure if I d give this to a kid, but any adult with a sense of humour and an interest in science should enjoy it. I read the sampler on my holiday And it was so entertaining I loved the illustrations too, and the punny title Noice Being a journo, and a wannabe nerd, all of this stuff appealed to me no end.Having been sci curious since leaving school and no longer being bored s less by uninspiring curriculums and teachers I found this book to be a delight Irreverent and funny, and full of the life I would want to be injected into what is a fascinating subject all things considered The little snippets remind me of the bits in text books that WERE interesting The fascinating factoids that injected life into the dour schoolings of old But what s different here is that the interesting bits ARE the main appeal I ll definitely be ordering the full book And I will be sharing it with my nieces, when they are slightly older and I have taught them a few expletives D Helen s writing style is personable, friendly and hilariously funny I expect she could tell me things about the reveals age phone book and make it engaging and interesting How I LOLed at the silly asides, as I inadvertently absorbed facts against my will This is how teaching should be And if all learning about stuff was this much fun, we d all be better educated.If sci curious, this book is an absolute must And I am already planning which planet to move to, based on the recommendations within this brilliant tome, for when Trump and North Korea blow this one up And I am already pissed off that my mini can t drive itself yet than I can tell you.Brilliant I love it Buy it. Why is it impossible to spin your right foot clockwise while you draw a six with your right hand Can you extract DNA from a strawberry daiquiri Would you make love like a praying mantis Should you book a holiday on EarthThe Element in the Room will take you on a rib tickling, experiment fuelled adventure to explain everyday science that is staring you in the face If you are sci curious, pi curious or just the end is nigh curious then this is the book for you Steve Mould and Helen Arney are two thirds of science comedy phenomenon Festival of the Spoken Nerd As a trio they have appeared on QI, created their own experimental comedy show Domestic Science for Radio , toured their stand up science shows to over , nerds and non nerds and accumulated millions of views on YouTube The book was relatively enjoyable for the first few chapters while it remained true to its science in the room experiments you can do right now ethos.That stopped round about half way through but was still quite interesting with some nice facts and figures thrown in.My main criticism regards the gags I don t think I found even one which was the remotest bit funny The attempts at humor unremittingly of the yay I m so zany kind were desperate, stale and ruined an otherwise nice book.Try less hard As a science nerd, I found the book very entertaining, with experiments I will definitely try with friends I don t think you need to be a nerd to enjoy it, as the book is very accessible. The Element In The Room contains a fair bit of interesting scientific fact, presented in the sort of breezy and self consciously clever manner that is typical of much of contemporary popular science these days One gets the impression that the authors are apologizing in advance yes, it s science, but we re not really taking it seriously And there are no tests Everyone gets an A Once you get past the style there s a fair bit of interesting scientific fact, although the authors sometimes dumb the presentation down so much that you wonder who they thought their audience would be Consider this summary of entropy Energy is only useful when it s clumped together When you use that energy to do something useful it spreads out Once it s spread out, you can t use it any.That strikes me as insufficient an explanation for elementary school students, and yet this book is aimed at adults There are also several errors that should have been caught before publication For instance, most menthol is made from peppermint oil, not turpentine On page 47 we learn that 15th Century Peruvians freeze dried their crops in the mountains What they dried was potatoes, to remove the solanine, and they still do it to this day On page 116 we learn that while the mercury in thermometers has been replaced with colored alcohol, there s no alternative for energy saving bulbs while might have been true a decade ago, but by the time this book was published CFLs were obsolete, replaced by energy saving, lead free LEDs.What really ruins this book for me is the horrible, amateurish, quality of the illustrations, most of which appear to be hand drawn or traced by someone who is not a particularly skilled artist In many instances the illustrations are so bad that they don t even convey the point the text is making On page 75 there s an illustration of the classic Shepard s table illusion, in which two tables rotated 90 degrees from each other appear to be different sizes, but when measured are shown to be identical In this instance, however, measurement reveals that the crudely drawn tables are obviously grossly different from one another In fact, with just one exception, none of the optical illusions in this chapter show the effect described, thanks to the poor reproduction.While I wanted to like this book, it s sloppy, poorly presented, and amateurishly illustrated Not recommended.