A Bee in a Cathedral: And 99 Other Scientific Analogies

Overview

100 scientific truths and principles clearly explained using the power of analogy.

The well-known "a bee in a cathedral" analogy describes the size of an atom and its nucleus in understandable terms. The analogy goes that if an atom were expanded to the size of a cathedral, the nucleus would be only about the size of a bee.

A Bee in a Cathedral uses analogies to demonstrate 100 basic scientific truths and principles in new and exciting ways, ...

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Overview

100 scientific truths and principles clearly explained using the power of analogy.

The well-known "a bee in a cathedral" analogy describes the size of an atom and its nucleus in understandable terms. The analogy goes that if an atom were expanded to the size of a cathedral, the nucleus would be only about the size of a bee.

A Bee in a Cathedral uses analogies to demonstrate 100 basic scientific truths and principles in new and exciting ways, describing the unbelievably massive, the inconceivably tiny and the unfathomably complex in everyday terms. Readers will be drawn to the book by its combination of intuitive reasoning and a highly visual presentation style.

Each analogy is explained in direct terms and clearly illustrated. A range of facts and figures — presented in uniquely accessible "infographics" — complements the analogies. The book covers a wide array of scientific topics: physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, earth sciences, anatomy and technology. The analogies include:

  • If an atomic nucleus expanded to the size of a marble, it would weigh about 100 million tons, or roughly the equivalent of 16 Great Pyramids of Egypt.
  • It would take a human heart less than 18 days to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
  • The volcanic blast of Mount St. Helens released thermal energy 1,600 times the size of Hiroshima. Krakatoa's 1883 eruption was roughly 13,000 times as powerful as that same bomb.

Informative and engaging, A Bee in a Cathedral gives readers a deeper appreciation of the forces and facts that govern the universe and everything in it.

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Editorial Reviews

NSTA - National Science Teachers Association - Ralph Peterson
What a delightful book! I had a hard time putting it down.... Rich with authentic comparisons, pictures, graphs, and facts, it is a valuable compendium for teachers. I really liked the format of two pages per analogy. It made for a quick read of each topic and made it easy to go on to another. Written at a level that most people would understand, the analogies will help readers comprehend scientific topics that may be difficult for them to understand. This is a must-have book. [I] highly recommend it to anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of science or convey a more interesting view to students. I think it should be in every science classroom.
Science
Educators, science communicators, and researchers have long used the x is like y construction with familiar objects and actions to make scientific ideas clear to their audiences. Writer and journalist Levy presents 100 such easy-to-understand comparisons that illuminate facts and principles from physical sciences, biology, human anatomy and physiology, and technology.... Two-page spreads effectively organize the short text and accompanying colorful graphics.
Science News
One hundred analogies and metaphors make science more visual. Learn how chemical reactions are like school dances and how long it would take to type the human genome.
VOYA - Geri Diorio
By explaining complex scientific concepts using easier-to-grasp analogies, author Joel Levy has created a heavy book that treads lightly over many subjects. In the introduction, the author acknowledges that analogies have their limitations and that they can be misleading. With that warning given, the book proceeds to offer one hundred analogies covering seven scientific disciplines: physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, earth science, the human body, and technology. Each comparison is stated in text, and complimented with various graphics, charts, and photographs. There is a fair amount of mathematics discussed, so equations pepper the pages, often inside a box, with explanatory images. The analogies are often very clever: how a cell is like a city, why the universe is like raisin bread, why the earth is like a Scotch egg, and how you are like the Ship of Theseus. Each concept is explained in only two pages, so nothing gets covered in-depth. Depending on the reader, this may pique their interest or frustrate them. For a browser, this book is great fun but there is not enough substance here for students to use for school projects. The subjects and the vocabulary aim for a high-school-through-adult audience, and for readers who enjoy science-minded browsing, this may be just the thing. Reviewer: Geri Diorio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554079599
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 6/16/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 979,332
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Joel Levy is a writer and journalist specializing in history and science. He is the author of more than a dozen books, and has also written features and articles for newspapers and magazines.

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