Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life” as Want to Read:
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,807 ratings  ·  391 reviews
Just as Freakonomics brought economics to life, so Storm in a Teacup brings physics into our daily lives and makes it fascinating.

What is it that helps both scorpions and cyclists to survive? What do raw eggs and gyroscopes have in common? And why does it matter?
In an age of string theory, fluid dynamics and biophysics, it can seem as if the science of our world is only fo
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 3rd 2016 by Bantam Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Storm in a Teacup, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) I'm not fluent in either of those languages -- possibly ISBN 978-83-8015-766-8 (link to publisher page ; also…moreI'm not fluent in either of those languages -- possibly ISBN 978-83-8015-766-8 (link to publisher page ; also ISBN 978-83-8015-767-5 at publisher page )(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,807 ratings  ·  391 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, reviews
Standing ovation. This is truly a marvelous, witty and entertaining book. It is rare to see a scientist write with such gusto and appeal. I wanted to hug her in the end.

This book is full of little anecdotes that bring the information alive in one`s mind. Her curiosity is contagious. Physics for everyday life is a book that will put the sparkle in your eye, if you are one of those people who look around, observe and love to know Why. It will make a great gift to the scientifically inclined teen
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How many times have you heard someone say (possibly one of your children…) that a particular subject at school is not relevant to them personally? In this book, author Helen Czerski attempts to show us how physics affects everyday life. Each chapter begins with something everyday – something small; such as trying to get ketchup from a bottle or stirring a cup of tea. From these innocuous springboards, she uses these examples to investigate much greater events in science and technology, using the ...more
ياسر حارب
Despite the complexity of physics, this book will make you understand it and love it. You observe simple stuff in your daily routine, and never thought about how they work, right? Well this book will make you look at life in a different way.
Physics is for everyone. I kept saying "wow" throughout the book. I recommend this book to everyone.
Karen R
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author and PhD Helen Czerski loves physics and wants others to share her enthusiasm. She sure won me over. This is a thoughtful debut by Czerski, a physicist/oceanographer. Chock full of tidbits on how/why stuff works, she breaks down things that I never even thought about and makes science easily understood.

Curiosity is human nature and I find myself more curious of everyday experiences and thinking about things in new ways after reading Helen’s book. Is it worth paying more for a fluorescent
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an anomaly, it deals with very technical and complex stuff but tries to take the simple approach to explain said phenomena. Physics will always be a complex subject and even though it affects everything inside and around us , there are few people who can name what this subject is about , let alone try to explain it to other people. This book tries to fill that gap and explain complex physics fundamentals to the masses (us), it succeeds in a way , as some parts of this book were real ...more
L.A. Starks
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is physics without the equations, far more immediate and dramatic than the way we usually encounter it in courses. Czerski provides a great deal of good, basic knowledge--how physics is a part of everything we experience and do. Her examples are easy to understand and refreshing.

The end of the book, about electromagnetism, gets a bit denser. And the conclusion has a "history-of-the-world" overreach aspect. But, these are minor, minor points in an innovative, thoughtful and considerate-to-re
kartik narayanan
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Storm in a Teacup lives up to its name - the book takes basic, every day phenomena and explains the physics behind the phenomena in an easy and approachable fashion.

The stand out feature for me was the clarity of explanations aimed at the common person without getting into too much detail while still retaining the core of the physics. There are multiple topics covered in the book and within each topic, there are various examples considered. This book focuses mainly on newtonian physics which is
aPriL does feral sometimes
Helen Czerski, physicist at University College London's Department of Mechanical Engineering, explains what the physics is behind everyday stuff, like what makes a toaster toast bread or what forces are at work when we stir milk into a serving of tea. Amazing. I had no idea electromagnetic forces were in the bottom of my toaster, for example. I had no idea of why ducks' feet do not freeze. I had no idea of how the sound of thunder worked (that rumble after the initial crash). She talks about the ...more
Douglas Lord
Mar 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Damn this book is disappointing because it sounds like it could be so good. It’s scattered, not centered, and feels disorganized. Czerski’s ’splainings aren’t so clear, skipping from point A to point B then to point Z in leaps and bounds. For example, she discusses the strength of air pressure through writing about Otto von Guericke’s vacuum pump demonstration for the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III in 1654. This segues into a discussion of the first attempts at mail by rocket, then space rocke ...more
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2016
For some people, science can baffle them, they see it as confusing and the domain of experts and specialists. In some cases, they are right; there are some hideously complicated theories out there that are seeking to explain the finest detail about quarks, string theory and genetics. But it needn’t be that way, science can explain just how the things that we interact with on a daily basis, work. In this, her first book, Czerski takes some well-known items, like eggs, popcorn, ducks, Wi-Fi, magne ...more
Paul  Perry
Helen Czerski has long been one of my favourite popular science presenters, due largely to the infectious enthusiasm she beings to her work, and this book begins in very much the same tone. The introduction bubbles with her rapid fire passion for knowledge.

However, if think you might find this ebullience wearing, don't worry. Czerski reins this in to a more academic tone for the book proper without ever becoming dry and, Instead, holds the reader's attention in a fascinating way. In each of the
John Gribbin
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slightly edited version of my review in Wall Street Journal:

​Did you realize that the rumble of thunder associated with a lightning flash is actually a result of the whipcrack sound from the lightning flash taking longer to reach the ear from greater heights up the lightning bolt itself? “These sound waves are travelling at about 1,100 feet every second or 767 mph, which means they’re taking 4.7 seconds to cover a mile,” explain Helen Czerski in her entertaining new book. “What I hear just after
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physics
A pretty strong offering for the popular physics genre. The author does a good job taking everyday events (frequently involving tea, sometimes coffee or milk) as a springboard to show how physical principles and processes play out across a range of scales. The great strength of this book is a welcome focus on phenomena like fluids and surface tension, which are quite fascinating but don't get this thorough a treatment in other books I've read. A drying coffee spill leads to an explanation of how ...more
R Nair
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Something I wish I could have gotten my hands on while in school. Or even while pursing a degree in Engineering. A very informative and at times unique, out-of-the-box perspective of some of the most fundamental principles in classical physics without the essential mathematics.
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It’s so easy to cast an eye over the world that skims over detail and curiosity. Most would admit to just seeing blue skies, oceans, blindly make their cup of tea in the morning and shoving their toast into the toaster, baring no thought to the world around them (me included) however this book has given me a whole new eye when looking over the things I previously didn’t connect the wonders of science to.

If you want a book that will revolutionise your thinking and make you think twice about thos
Baal Of
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bruschetta
This book delivers pretty much everything I like from a general-interest popular science book. Clear explanations of scientific concepts, in this case about physics, and how those ideas connect to impact peoples' lives. I thought the organization of the book was done very well, and liked how Czerski tied disparate threads together. I particularly liked the explanation of how snails use their slime for moving around, and for navigating seemingly impossible routes, all due to the physics of mucus ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm, how to rate this one...

Well, I didn't love it. In fact, I found it hard to get through. But still, I don't think it was that bad of a book.

Czerski brings some interesting tidbits and every day knowledge of physics into her book and from her writing it is quite clear that she is passionate about science. She even has a sort of love letter to science in the final chapter.

Physics is just a bit convoluted at times and it's tough to visualize some of these concepts without the aid of diagrams
Peter Tillman
A well-written pop-science book by a young marine physicist. Her personal anecdotes were the most fun -- her college trebuchet project was memorable -- but the book is definitely science-light. Still, I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars
A couple of good professional reviews:

Czerski also writes a monthly column for the Wall Street Journal on this topic: (paywalled?), and she was an award-wi
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at Desert Island Book Reviews

Have you ever wondered why coffee spills leave a ring on the table, or why a piece of buttered toast always falls butter-side down? These are just two of the topics physicist Helen Czerski explains in this book, released at the beginning of January.

I’ve always liked science, though I’ll readily admit that physics was always my least favorite branch (I’m a chemistry kind of person). That doesn’t mean that everyday phenomena don’t sometimes mystify me
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Basically, this book is the author's reflection on the physics of everyday life. The level is very introductory for the layman. It is what it is. I was a physics major in college so I've kind of seen this stuff before but for a nonphysicist, it might be a fun book.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: luis
Every year, I read a few science books. I have read many great books, but since I’ve read Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes more than one year ago, I’ve never found another book that I enjoyed so much… until now! Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life is exactly what the title promises. But more than that, this is one of those books that make you look at things around you in a different way. Whenever I least expect it, I find myself going back to what I’ve read: yesterday, when I went for ...more
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm slightly clueless when it comes to physics, and as I turns out, I chose the right book to help me see the light. This is a book that anyone can read and comprehend. It may even change your perspective of the physical world.

Each chapter begins with a small example: popcorn popping, swirling water in a teacup, coffee rings on your counter top. After explaining the science behind that phenomenon, it broadens out into larger examples, eventually showing the big picture and how one small law affe
A wonderfully entertaining read which brings the physics that most of us can't understand into the vernacular. Most of all, it concerns itself with simple explanations and clever experiments which the reader can do at home and experience the wonder of physics. The writing style is clear and simple, but it does not stay shy of some good humor, which can make you feel as if you're just having a proper ol' banter with the author. Would totally recommend to any science geeks who come from an angle o ...more
I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Interesting in a nerdy sort of way. Probably only interesting to those interested in the background science of everyday things.
Siddharth Venkatesan
Wonderful book. Helen gets to the basics of the physics behind everyday life in such a lucid and playful language. Its a joy to read. Highly recommend this.
Ainee Ansaari
Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This book talks about the Physics behind some quotidian experiences. Being an engineer myself, this book did not offer much novelty but nonetheless, it's a good read.
Alan Ramsay
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uses a lot of analogy to explain things a bit more simply than some readers may need, but interesting and readable
Sarah Clement
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a time when everyone is obsessed with astrophysics, this popular science book about the physics of everyday life is a breath of fresh air. Czerski is an excellent science communicator, making physics both easy to understand and even fun. Her love of physics certainly comes through in this book, and you get the sense that she never stops delighting in seeing the fundamental physical principles at play in everyday life. I am a person much more interested in Earth and the problems we face here t ...more
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fascinating read - and the author has dive an amazing capacity to convey complex physics concepts in relatable, easy to understand terms. I so hope she continues with this line of books. The world would be much different if our teachers shared the details to make physics easy to understand and and relevant at the same time. I am so inspired by this author.
Katie/Doing Dewey
Summary: I've never had an intuitive grasp of physics, but Helen Czerski explained concepts in an engaging way that constantly gave me new insights into everyday phenomena.

"Our home here on Earth is messy, mutable, and full of humdrum things that we touch and modify without much thought every day. But these familiar surroundings are just the place to look if you’re interested in what makes the universe tick."(source)

I've long felt that my understanding of the physics everyday objects around me i
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Combine Arabic edition to a book 2 7 Mar 22, 2020 08:05PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Forces of Nature
  • Maths on the Back of an Envelope: Clever ways to (roughly) calculate anything
  • Reading Reconsidered: A Practical Guide to Rigorous Literacy Instruction
  • How to Argue With a Racist: What Our Genes Do (and Don't) Say About Human Difference
  • The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread - and Why They Stop
  • Oxygen: The Molecule That Made the World
  • Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us
  • The Math of Life and Death: 7 Mathematical Principles That Shape Our Lives
  • Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics By Its Most Brilliant Teacher
  • The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
  • Humble Pi: A Comedy of Maths Errors
  • The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day
  • The Effect
  • The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity
  • Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All
  • Monimuotoisuus – kertomuksia katoamisista
  • False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet
  • The Science of Everyday Life: Why Teapots Dribble, Toast Burns and Light Bulbs Shine
See similar books…
Helen Czerski is a physicist at University College London’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and a science presenter for BBC. She writes a monthly column for BBC Focus magazine called “Everyday Science” that was shortlisted for a Professional Publishers Association Award.

News & Interviews

Ashley Poston made her name with Once Upon a Con, a contemporary series set in the world of fandom, and her two-part space opera, Heart of...
38 likes · 6 comments
“Critical thinking is essential to make sense of our world, especially with advertisers and politicians all telling us loudly that they know best. We need to be able to look at the evidence and work out whether we agree with them.” 8 likes
“This process of discovery is science: the continual refinement and testing of our understanding, alongside the digging that reveals even more to be understood.” 1 likes
More quotes…