Weird Science

Sometimes you need a break from serious reading. need a book about weird experiments, crazy (mad) scientists, and amazing stories that you won't believe are true. Believe it, and enjoy!

Smoking Ears and Screaming Teeth, by Trevor Norton

Science has long been filled with self-experimenters. Many men and women have been so dedicated to the cause of discovery that they have risked their own lives to find the truth. This book gets its name from the symptoms experienced by famed self-experimenter Jack Haldane, who exposed himself to poisonous gases while testing a prototype gas mask. Each chapter focuses on a different subject, whether it be anesthetics, the digestive system, or flight. Few of these individuals are considered famous for their exploits, but their findings have had major effects on our way of life. Each individual's tale is told in a fascinating manner that is sure to enthrall you as you read!

The Science of Superheroes, by Lois Gresch

This book is along the lines of the previous entry, but looks at superheroes with a more generalized scientific view. There is still plenty of physics, but it also looks at other comic book matters. One of my favorite sections is the explanation of how Green Lantern's ring functions. Obviously, the laws of science do not often apply in the comic book realm, but it does provide a fun view of different scientific concepts.

Elephants on Acid, by Alex Boese

This is one of my favorite books of all times. Everyone loves anecdotes, and everyone SUPER LOVES science anecdotes! But these stories are even better: they're about weird science, weird experiments, and weird people! Each section features a different subject of study in the magical realm of science. Have you ever wished that Frankenstein's monster was real? Read about the scientist who kept a severed dog's head alive, or the other people who transplanted one monkey's head onto another's body! Learn about different psych studies by the infamous Stanley Milgram, who showed that people aren't as kind-hearted as we'd like to think. And of course, read about the time scientists had an elephant take acid (LSD for you squares out there). This collection of well-written accounts will keep you enthralled, amused, and occasionally horrified for hours. I highly recommend this book!

Electrified Sheep, by Alex Boese

You can consider this book to be the sequel to the previous entry. I am not as big a fan of this one, only because it does not have as many anecdotes in it. However, the stories in this volume are much more in depth, and focus on five specific topics that have been studied in the past. The author focuses on fields that have seen numerous interesting experiments, such as primatology or electricity. Many of the stories come from eras before the realm of modern science, although some do pertain to the research done by the military industrial complex. One of my favorites is the account of the military exploding an atomic bomb into the upper atmosphere, leading to an Aurora Borealis viewable worldwide. Although I prefer Elephants on Acid, this book is also quite a good read.

The Science of Aliens, by Clifford Pickover

Aliens are cool. I don't care if you're a staunch skeptic or a true believer, the idea of aliens existing is cool. Awesome, even. But if aliens existed, what would they look like, and why? There are loads of sci-fi movies out there that attempt to give a visual answer to this question, but the description of aliens often seems to be biased by the human experience. If aliens actually existed, chances are slim that they'd look like us. Clifford Pickover attempts to give a better answer in his book The Science of Aliens. He attempts to shed his human biases and give us hypothetical examples of alien anatomy, language, and lifestyles. He could be right, or he could be wrong, who knows? The book is entertaining, and pushes you to think about the possibilities of "what if?"