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Radar, Hula Hoops and Playful Pigs: 67 Digestible Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Have you ever wondered about the science behind Alice’s strange adventures in Wonderland, Casanova’s experiments with "Spanish Fly," and zombies in Haiti? In Radar, Hula Hoops, and Playful Pigs, chemist and columnist Dr. Joe Schwarcz offers 67 entertaining essays exploring these and other delightful nooks and crannies of chemistry.

Investigate the nefarious chemistry of the
Paperback, 296 pages
Published August 30th 2001 by W. H. Freeman (first published 1999)
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3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  151 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Isabella D
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give this book an 4 out of 5. I found some of stories extremely interesting and others very hard to get through. I will say that I liked that you did not have to read every single story to understand the book as they really do not connect to each other. I, personally, skipped around and read the ones that seemed most interesting to me. A big reason this book is not a 5 out of 5 was because some of the short stories seemed to drag on. The author included a somewhat dense history to quite a few ...more
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A collection of explanations/talks about chemistry (and other stuff) and applications to life in general. A little dated now, an update would be great. Also, not many dates and no footnotes or endnotes which would have been helpful.
Isac Monteiro
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. You don't need to have any chemical knowledge. It's for all kind of people. The book shows really facinating comments about chemistry, does worth to read!
Jun 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book, I would give it a rating of 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars. I gave it this rating due to the fact that my overall feeling while and after reading this book was pretty positive. The book looked at the chemistry of everyday items and went into explanation about how they worked. Also, the book picked topics that were interesting and would keep the reader interested during every short story, along with having a story for everyone. (Such as; Science behind Alice in Wonderland, ...more
Blablabla Aleatório
Desde que eu era pequena, a química me fascina. Eu acreditava que misturar xampus e condicionadores no banheiro era algo mágico e passei muitas tardes com meu irmão aprontando dessas travessuras. Um dos meus maiores traumas é não ter tido um kit alquimia quando era criança. Todo esse amor me fez escolher Química como curso na faculdade e os livros que descrevem a química no dia-a-dia são os meus favoritos, ganhando de todos os romances históricos que podem aparecer por aí. Assim, não é de surpre ...more
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book has been on my to-read list since I started keeping the current poorly-maintained version in 1999; it's designed to popularize chemistry and science for the masses, and the author, Dr. Joe Schwarcz, has apparently gone on to do about new book a year since then.

I found it strange, though, that the book's introduction includes a page or two slagging the portrayal of scientists in kids' shows Bill Nye "Science Guy" and "Beakman's World." Dr. Schwarcz felt that science was interesting enou
Apr 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
This book is a good and easy read. Schwartz clearly knows his science. The overall point he makes about science being a process of uncovering new incremental discoveries is a great idea which cannot be emphasized enough. What left me wanting more, though, was that he rarely described the evidence science has to back up its claims. In an effort to reach the general public, he leaves out the details that makes science what it is: a continual quest for knowledge of how the universe works. I wanted ...more
Dec 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good, but I liked "Genie in the Bottle" better. The latter had more stories about things you could relate to better. Radar was very good though, don't get me wrong. It's a great going to bed book because each section is so short. And they are very interesting so you stay awake - for a science/history book it won't put you to sleep. All the facts about food are very insightful and Dr.Schwarcz's prose is very lively. Bottom line: Read it.
The first half of the book was really fascinating, but I found the second half dragged on for me. It may be because I was tired of the genre and chemistry though, not because the 2nd half was any different than the 1st half. Lots of everyday life chemistry that's good to know. "Chemical" is not a bad word. Everything in the universe is made of chemicals, even humans.
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Joe Schwarcz has mastered the art of science education as an attention-holding and rewarding experience. In this book he provides a great read, a book you will not want to put down. You will learn a great deal about the world around us while being compelled to read on—it’s an educator’s dream!"
Feb 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just kind of fun...pick it up anytime sort-of-thing.
Luis Brudna
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: imp, quimica
O Joe insiste um pouco em desmascarar mitos e lendas, deixando a química em segundo plano em alguns ensaios. Mas nada que prejudique a leitura.
OBS: Li a versão em português.
May 14, 2007 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
interesting commentary on relationships between chemistry and every day living! So far I like it!
Dec 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by Professor Joe Schwarcz. I really loved it.
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Dr. Joe Schwarcz holds a PhD in chemistry and is host of the radio program The Dr. Joe Show, directo of McGill University's Office for Science & Society and the author of fourteen bestselling books. Well known for his informative and entertaining lectures, Dr. Schwarcz has received numerous awards for teaching and deciphering science for the public.