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How to Fossilize Your Hamster: And Other Amazing Experiments for the Armchair Scientist (New Scientist Last Word #5)

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  283 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Outrageously entertaining and educational experiments from the team behind the phenomenal international bestseller Does Anything Eat Wasps?

How can you measure the speed of light with a bar of chocolate and a microwave oven? To keep a banana from decaying, are you better off rubbing it with lemon juice or refrigerating it? How can you figure out how much your head weighs? M
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 22nd 2008 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 2007)
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Jun 13, 2012 Nikki rated it liked it
Another New Scientist book, this one focused on experiments you can carry out at home. I'm sure I've read similar things in the other New Scientist book, but it's a fun collection anyway. My favourite thing was learning that you can separate out the iron from iron-fortified cereals using a magnet. Veeeery tempted to try that, though I'm not sure I have any strong enough magnets.
Jan 22, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, tagging this one as a 'self-help book' in my reading challenge proved more accurate than initially expected. So far, I've learned useful life skills, such as how to make a martini (and why shaken and stirred ones do taste differently), how to fossilize a dead pet (200,000 years and an empty sea-bed are essential for this) and how to make green eggs and ham.

It's a adorable read for anybody who's ever wondered what's the explanation behind daily phenomena.
M.G. Mason
This, the third in the collection of New Scientist books, focuses not so much on responding to letters sent into the magazine of those odd scientific queries and compiling them into a volume with comprehensive answers, but on the more practical aspects of what you can learn for yourself. It is a book of experiments based on queries they magazine has received.

The experiments are of course straightforward and encourage you to recreate every day phenomena. Because of this, it is not so much a book
Kalle Wescott
Apr 21, 2013 Kalle Wescott rated it it was amazing
This book is brilliant!

Or at least it appears to be from reading the experiments.

New Scientist magazine published the book, and it contains 78 experiments the armchair scientist can try at home with mostly easily available materials, to demonstrate scientific principles in action, the laws of physics, and in some cases, phenomena that are still not fully understood.

Here are videos of five of the experiments:

I've picked out my first eleven experiments t
Feb 10, 2008 Eric rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who has kids and likes science
Shelves: trivia-etc
This is a fun little book full of easy experiments to try to prove different science related questions. Some of the questions include things like "How do you suck an egg into a bottle" or "Why does that mentos/diet coke thing work?" or "How to make science volcanoes" and more. The book if very easy to read and light-hearted with humor thrown in.

I found it informative and easy to read end to end without doing any of the experiments. I do plan to keep the book and do some of the experiments with
Jun 23, 2014 Ria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book written in the same vein as the other titles in the New scientist series.
But this is done with a difference, this volume is aimed at encouraging readers to actually try out the theories and experiments at home so in a lot of cases some of the things put forward HAS been covered in some of the other books but have been slightly adapted for people to try in their own homes.
Broken down into handy sections of the kitchen, the study, things to do in the garden etc this book has some
Apr 13, 2013 Reds_reads rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, 2013
This book is from the same team that produced 'Does Anything Eat Wasps' and others, collections of readers questions featured in New Scientist magazine together with answers. It describes various experiments that can be done at home that answer some of these questions, or just illustrate them in an amusing or ingenious way. An awful lot of them seem to feature alcohol and/or fizzy drinks.

It was an entertaining read - informative and humorous - and has left me with a real desire to see just what
Aug 20, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: h, 2014
Although some of the experiments were interesting I didn’t really feel myself wanting to rush out and try them. The back ground information associated with each of the different experiments and how they turn out and why is the part I found more interesting. It definitely didn’t hold my interest in the same way other New Scientist books like ‘Why Don’t Penguins Feet Freeze’ and ‘Do Polar Bears Ever Get Lonely’. The main redeeming feature was the shortness of each of the sections meaning it could ...more
Sep 30, 2011 Shahrun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is brilliant! It had me amazed, laughing and educated my little brain. Pretty winning combination if you ask me! Next step is to try out some of the experiments! Oh and buy another copy of this book for my uncle (it was supposed to be his birthday present), because I need to keep this copy for future reference.

Note to Readers of Does Anything Eat Wasps & Why Don't Penguin's Feet Freeze - there is some repetition of subject matter (I just skimmed over those bits), so it may get bor
Sep 09, 2010 Beth rated it liked it
I bought this book mostly for the title experiment, but it's not so much an experiment as just finding the right conditions to prevent the dead hamster from being disturbed/eaten/destroyed and letting it sit for a long time. I thought there might be more to it than that. However, this book does tell you how to culture your own DNA using items commonly found in the household and how to measure the speed of light using chocolate.
Saurio Saurio
Feb 21, 2011 Saurio Saurio rated it really liked it
Un libro interesante y con experimentos divertidos. Lástima que la traducción al castellano tiene algunas palabras de uso común en España pero extrañas en Argentina y uno tiene que deducir qué corno necesita para hacer la experiencia, pero, bue, es lo de menos.
Ideal para enchastrar la cocina y desordenar el garage un sábado lluvioso con el hijo (o la hija o los plurales de ambos) de uno.
Dec 17, 2007 Ginnz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: arm chair scientists
Excellent. Loved every second of this book and it gives you experiements to do (as well as explains what happens and why) so I cant wait to try some of thses out.
Fossilising a hamster will take some organising tho!
Laura Gilfillan
Somewhat witty, somewhat interesting experiments, some of which could be done at home. Except for fossilizing your hamster, which would take more time than most of us have. Experiments followed by explanations for why things are the way they are.
Aug 02, 2008 Kate rated it really liked it
Great read! Many hands-on science experiments about every day things. My favorite experiment: measuring the speed of light using a chocolate bar and your microwave. Awesome!
Nikos Skantzos
Sep 09, 2009 Nikos Skantzos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's about how much fun science can be. It doesn't take sophisticated devices to see the most spectacular phenomena.
Funny experiments you can perform at home.
Dec 31, 2007 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
A book full of interesting science experiments you can perform with everyday household items, written in an amusing and easy to understand manner.
How to Fossilise Your Hamster and Other Amazing Experiments for the Armchair Scientist by Mick O'Hare (2007)
Nov 10, 2010 Daniel rated it liked it
this book have some great experiments but others not so good
Mar 26, 2012 Shahrun marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Oct 19, 2010 Kerry marked it as dnf
Shelves: library, non-fiction, 2010
I just ran out of time before the book had to go back to the library. A danger of reading too many books at once, I guess. It was fun, what I read.
Mar 11, 2014 Xanthi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A book about home science experiments. I found myself slogging through parts of this book. Not quite as entertaining as I was hoping it would be.
Feb 12, 2008 Bagger rated it really liked it
Who doesn't want to know how to do the stuff in this book, from making your own wine(which is disgusting) to fossilizing your hamster, a must read for inquiring minds.
Steve Greenhalgh
Steve Greenhalgh rated it liked it
Mar 11, 2012
Pam rated it liked it
Dec 14, 2011
Ami rated it liked it
Nov 19, 2012
James Mitchell
James Mitchell rated it it was ok
Nov 28, 2014
Ania rated it did not like it
Apr 29, 2009
Levi rated it liked it
Jul 24, 2014
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Mick O’Hare (* 1964 in Mirfield, England) is a British editor and writer who travels between the US and the UK.

Currently, he is an editor for New Scientist, the leading British weekly for science, writing among other things the "The Last Word" column of questions and answers. He edited Profile’s bestselling book "Does Anything Eat Wasps?" and its successors "Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze?" and "
More about Mick O'Hare...

Other Books in the Series

New Scientist Last Word (9 books)
  • The Last Word: Questions and Answers from the Popular Column on Everyday Science (Popular Science)
  • The Last Word 2
  • Does Anything Eat Wasps?: And 101 Other Unsettling, Witty Answers to Questions You Never Thought You Wanted to Ask
  • Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze?: And 114 Other Questions
  • How to Fossilise Your Hamster
  • Why Can't Elephants Jump?: And 113 Other Tantalising Science Questions
  • Will We Ever Speak Dolphin?
  • New Scientist Boxset

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