By Mark Miodownik
Review by Halima (Chemistry)
The book follows the author’s plane journey from London to New York as he explains the properties of various liquids around him, such as why kerosene is used for jet engines and how soap cleans your hands.
This book is perfect as it encourages the reader to be curious about the world around us, using science to uncover the secrets of what seem like simple everyday liquids we always use and consume, with satisfying explanations. The book also introduces you to concepts that are key to science degrees but in a more exciting way than just reading a textbook. For example, the first law of thermodynamics is explained through looking at how refrigerators work. I read this book at the end of Year 12 after being recommended his first book, Stuff Matters, which is about material science. I was looking for a broader book, which Liquid is, that brought together different fields of the physical sciences.
My favourite part of the book covered how to make the best cup of tea according to science, which includes the tea leaves used, water quality and the temperature of the brew, which all factor into how it seems that the tea offered on flights in plastic cups lacks flavour. I would highly recommend keeping a pen around to mark anything you find interesting as this book is a great introduction to many different fields of science that you can then research more. For example, the sustainability chapter introduces us to the versatile plastics, and their negative impact on the planet which then encouraged me to attend lectures on the topic.