REVIEW: Chemistry for Breakfast: The Amazing Science of Everyday Life by Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim
A whirlwind romp through everyday science, perfect for fans of How Stuff Works, Stuff You Should Know and Netflix’s Explained.
In this quirky and endlessly surprising book, scientist and award-winning YouTuber Dr. Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim tells us about the amazing science behind everyday things (like drinking water,) and not-so-everyday things (like space travel and baby dinosaurs). Come along for the ride of a lifetime!
Perfect for armchair scientists: a wide range of information means readers will never get bored.
Told over the course of a single day: Mai shows the scientific reactions that occur from morning to bedtime.
Quirky illustrations: break up the text and help readers visualize scientific reactions.
Surprising facts: learn why an alarm clock triggers fight-or-flight, what alcohol does to our bodies (and minds), and the science behind the term “love drunk” (plus so much more).
See the world in a new way: Mai shows us that science is behind everything we do and feel.
Accessible and fun: Mai shows us that we don’t have to be scientists to think like one.
Chemistry for Breakfast turns the ordinary into extraordinary,
This is fun and wide ranging but as another review I read mentioned, it’s the kind of stuff that I can understand while I’m reading it but I can’t easily rephrase it for this review and some of it I’ll definitely forget fairly quickly. Still there’s some interesting and cool stuff and Mai does a good job making things accessible for the lay person even if you have little chemistry in your background. She relates ideas and concepts in terms of things that most people have experienced or seen so I did a lot of “ah, now that I understand.”
Still for every neat and nifty explanation of chemical things, there are sections having little to do with what I’d consider to be chemistry. Though some are interesting as well, I found myself wondering why these parts were included which leads me to think either I’m correct or the relevance wasn’t explained quite enough. The large amount of time spent talking about the soul destroying aspects of academia really didn’t belong here.
In several chapters, she discusses how social media today loves to grab flashy headlines from scientific papers and stir anxiety in the guise of whipping up interest without journalists understanding what these papers are actually saying. Mei herself has decided to focus on the social media aspect of conveying information to the public rather than working in a more traditional job and thus the book is pitched to a wide audience. It’s also a bit scattershot as far as the topics covered swinging widely back and forth.
The book seems to be aimed at non-scientists or those young students who are just beginning their studies. But for people with more scientific background, it might be too lite. C+