WHAT IF... one man decided to answer all the unanswerable questions, using science. The Sunday Times-bestselling author and xkcd creator, Randall Munroe is here to provide the best answers yet to the important questions you probably never thought to ask
The millions of people around the world who read and loved What If? still have questions, and those questions are getting stranger. Planning to ride a fire pole from the moon back to Earth? The hardest part is sticking the landing. Hoping to cool the atmosphere by opening everyone's freezer doors at the same time? Maybe it's time for a brief introduction to thermodynamics. Want to know what would happen if you rode a helicopter blade, built a billion-storey building, made a lava lamp out of lava, or jumped on a geyser as it erupted? Okay, if you insist.
Welcome (back) to the mind-blowing world of What If? Unfazed by absurdity, Randall consults the latest research on everything from swing-set physics to airplane-catapult design to clearly and concisely answer his readers' questions. As he consistently demonstrates, you can learn a lot from examining how the world might work in very specific extreme circumstances. Filled with bonkers science, boundless curiosity, and Randall's signature stick-figure comics, What If? 2 is sure to be another instant classic adored by inquisitive readers of all ages.
Randall Munroe is the creator of the webcomic xkcd and bestselling author of What If?, Thing Explainer and xkcd: Volume 0. Randall was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, and grew up outside Richmond, Virginia. After studying physics at Christopher Newport University, he got a job building robots at NASA Langley Research Center. In 2006 he left NASA to draw comics on the internet full time and has since been nominated for a Hugo Award three times. The International Astronomical Union recently named an asteroid after him: asteroid 4942 Munroe is big enough to cause mass extinction if it ever hits a planet like Earth.
"Randall Munroe [is] the guru of absurd science questions [...] What If? 2 is stuffed with questions that are fanciful in the asking, but perfectly – and playfully – informative in the answering. The questions throughout are equal parts brilliant, gross, and wonderfully absurd and the answers are thorough, deeply researched, and great fun. Do you need any of this information? No. Are you happy – indeed, delighted – to have it? Almost certainly yes. Science isn't easy, but in Munroe's capable hands, it surely can be fun."
– Time Magazine
"One of my favourite books of the year."
– Financial Times
"Head-scratching [...] seemingly simple conundrums lead to the most fascinating of rabbit holes."
"*Staff's Favourite Books of 2022* A dense litany of thoroughly researched explanations of intensely silly hypotheticals. Perfect if you enjoy it when stuffy figures of authority crack a smile. Or if you like it when black holes form. That happens a lot."