How do we make sense of the modern world? Science is a profoundly affecting aspect of contemporary life, and yet the gulf between experts and everyone else is widening. Colette Brooks bridges the gap by playing the role of curious layperson, serving as a tour guide to some of the most important discoveries and innovations of the last five centuries.
Through serious and absurd stories alike, Brooks takes readers back and forth in time, from dark, cavernous laboratories to the pristine facilities of the twenty-first century. Laugh along with Newton, peer at the moon with Galileo, work beside the Wright Brothers, ride with the astronauts of Apollo 11, watch for UFOs in the 1950s, probe the secrets of the fruit fly, visit Chernobyl, or examine suspicious packages in a Hazmat suit. With Brooks as the guide, it’s easy to become immersed in the twists, turns, and surprises of each imaginative leap forward.
Through a series of “thought experiments,” Brooks also poses questions and offers helpful tips that ease the reader’s way into this strange but provocative territory. Bringing her unique perspective to the larger cultural conversation about science, Brooks ultimately unleashes the most powerful force of all: our own wonder.