Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Plus Maths
Physics web

Len Fisher

how to dunk a doughnut

Actually the question is more about dunking biscuits - how do you soften them without them collapsing into your coffee. The author has researched the question and found that the best solution is to use a biscuit with something to hold it together in the middle. There's a chapter on how to estimate your supermarket bill as you go along - interestingly the author's first method did very badly and his wife's was much more successful. Why does a boomerang come back? The book is full of such questions and how the author investigated them, and I found it a highly enjoyable read.

The final chapter on 'the physics of sex' no doubt will appeal to the teenage market, but it might make anyone thinking of giving the book as a gift think twice.

But there's a paradox here. The author has been mildly rebuked by the media for invading our everyday lives with science, but what sort of R&D do they think large food companies are doing? The book seems to be about finding a novel area to apply science to, and so appeal to non-scientists, but that isn't the case. Indeed most of the chapters are based on talks given to groups of scientists or to school science clubs. Hence I would say that the book was most suited to those learning science to get a lighthearted look at ways in which they can use their new knowledge. info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0297607561
Salesrank: 10375224
Published: 2002 Orion Pub Co
Amazon price $13.61
Marketplace:New from $13.61:Used from $0.03
Buy from info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 0297607561
Salesrank: 1923962
Weight:1 lbs
Published: 2002 Orion
Marketplace:New from £1.99:Used from £0.01
Buy from info
ISBN: 0297607561
Salesrank: 4240774
Weight:1 lbs
Published: 2002 Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Amazon price CDN$ 47.65
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 45.73:Used from CDN$ 0.52
Buy from

Product Description
In 1998 Len Fisher attracted world-wide attention with his experiments on the physics of biscuit dunking. These won him a spoof 'IgNobel Prize', a letter of commendation from the royal society and a nomination as 'an enemy of the people' by the Times newspaper. In this funny, fascinating and accessible book the author tells the true stories behind this and other projects, taking a scientific look at the familiar and the everday as a way of opening the door to science, and showing, from an insider's viewpoint, what it feels like to be a scientist, what things scientists do, why they do it and how they go about it. Scientists exploring the most commonplace and mundane phenomena have provided insight into some of the most profound scientific questions and uncovered some of nature’s deepest laws - see Count Rumford, who discovered the principle of heat convection after burning his mouth on hot apple pie. We can in turn use these laws to understand and improve our performance in many everday activities, as How to Dunk a Doughnut shows, demonstrating the benefits of a more scientific approach to things as diverse as sport, DIY and sex. Along the way, we meet scientists from past and present and learn the solutions to many of modern life's most pressing problems, from the scientific way to add up a shopping bill, to how to use the laws of thermodynamics to boil the perfect egg.