Science in Snippets: Fast, Fun Facts for Anyone Interested in Science

August 4, 2020 | M. Elwood

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I've always loved almanacs, encyclopedias, dictionaries. Really, any book that provides bite-sized pieces of information. These kinds of books are perfect for my current situation. I can barely barely concentrate long enough to finish a sentence let alone read an entire book. 

These books about science will help you learn new things in a fun and informative way. 

All of them are available in ebook format. 

Big bad book of botany

The Big Bad Book of Botany: The World's Most Fascinating Flora by Michael Largo.

This collection of weird facts about plants is perfect for readers who are dying to know about plants in history. For example, it includes facts on where the first trees grew and which plants have been used to poison monarchs. 

Cover image of The disappearing spoon : and other true tales of madness, love, and the history of the world from the periodic table of the elements

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Rivalry, Adventure, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of The Elements by Sam Kean.

A compulsively readable book about chemical elements. This lively book provides the history of the periodic table in small, fascinating chunks. 

Grapes of math

The Grapes of Math: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life by Alex Bellos.

I really hate math but I love puns. Could this book help me get over my fear of numbers? In this engaging book, Alex Bellos uses history, art, and interviews with key players in the math world to explain concepts (trigonometry, calculus) that baffle people like me.

Know it all

Know It All: 132 Head-Scratching Questions about the Science All Around Us.

The most popular questions and answers from New Scientist magazine's The Last Word column. 

In the beginning

Mental Floss Presents In the Beginning: From Big Hair to the Big Bang edited by Mary Carmichael, Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudar.

Not merely focused on science and invention, this book tracks down the origin stories of everything from paper clips to the word "guy". 

Physics of everyday things

The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science behind an Ordinary Day by James Kakalios.

Remember what normal days are like? James Kakalios takes a look at a typical day and the scientific principles that make it all possible. 


Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Anything by Lydia Kang and Nate Pederson.

A fascinating and disturbing look at terrible "cures" through medical history. 

What einstein didn't know

What Einstein Didn't Know: Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions by Robert L. Wolke

Honestly, if Einstein doesn't know these things, I'm sure he could have figured it out. But the important thing is that I don't know them. For example, I've never trusted bleach because how does it know what to bleach? And how does soap know what is dirt and what is not? This book promises to answer all my laundry related questions and more.

What if randall munroe

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

Randall Munroe was a roboticist at NASA but decided to marry his two passions – science and cartooning – and create the webcomic xkcd. It's described as "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language". In this book, he answers some of the questions asked by xkcd reader. Questions like this: If you saved a whole life’s worth of kissing and used all that suction power on one single kiss, how much suction force would that single kiss have?


Want more in-depth science reads? Try Angjelin's list of 11 Fun Science Reads You Can Access from Home.



If you're participating in TPL's 2020 Reading Challenge, you could use any one of these books for the "a book you found helpful" category. Or pick two of them and read "two books on the same topic by different authors"! It's not too late to join the challenge, and take part in the online discussion in our TPL Reading Challenge Facebook group.

What are your favourite science facts? Share in the comments below!