5 star reviews / Book Reviews

Review: It’s Not Rocket Science by Ben Miller

scienceYes, Virginia, this is a non-fiction book. And yes, the Ben Miller that authored this book is the same one from Johnny English, Death In Paradise and The Armstrong & Miller show. See before Miller was distracted by Alexander Armstrong, the Cambridge Footlights and the bizarre urge to stand in front of a crowd and crack jokes, he was studying for a PhD in Physics. I know – you couldn’t make it up, could you?

Miller returns to his first love in It’s Not Rocket Science to pen an informative guide with a lightness of touch and his very unique sense of humour (he has a tendency to distract himself, which makes reading impossible without giggling). He covers the Large Hadron Collider, the structure of the universe, DNA and alien life, amongst other subjects.

Every one is presented in language that makes the science accessible without Miller ever talking down to his audience. His target is those that are (or were) interested in physics but never really got into it. Since I fell very firmly into this category, it often felt like he was writing to me directly, which was a little weird at times.

As this is a non-fiction book, I suppose the big question is whether I’ve learnt anything from reading it. The answer is yes, absolutely. Perhaps not everything I’ve picked up is useful (dandelions do not form part of the natural diet of a fox), but I definitely had a lot of fun along the way.

Genre: Non-fiction
Length: 275 pages
Primary Book Format: Print
Publisher/Imprint: Sphere
Smart Girls Rating: 5

Black holes. DNA. The Large Hadron Collider. Ever had that sneaking feeling that you are missing out on some truly spectacular science?

You do? Well fear not, for help is at hand.

Ben Miller was working on his Physics PhD at Cambridge when he accidentally became a comedian. But first love runs deep, and he has returned to his roots to share with you all his favourite bits of science. This is the stuff that you really need to know, not only because it matters, but because it will quite simply amaze and delight you.

“Let me show you another, perhaps less familiar side of Science; her beauty, her seductiveness and her passion. And let’s do it quickly, while Maths isn’t looking!” ~ Ben Miller

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11 thoughts on “Review: It’s Not Rocket Science by Ben Miller

  1. This is great. I love books about science for the general audience. I took a few physics classes during my college days-I was terrible and have almost non-existent skill, but I just found it fascinating. Because I had no gift, I was smart enough to just audit the courses:)

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    • I’ve been bleating on about this book since I started reading it in February (I’m on my second time through) because I think it’s simply fantastic. It’s not a text book – it’s a warm, witty narrative that presents the facts and figures in layman’s terms. It’s a friendly book and I can’t sing its praises enough.

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    • There are some B&W illustrations, but I’d imagine they’re in the Kindle version. I bought the print because I find it easier to reference back. And then I bought the audio version, which is frankly worth the expense for the pleasure of hearing Ben say “orgy”.

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  2. Love Ben Miller, especially his nuttier roles in movies like “Plunkett and Macleane” and “There’s Only One Jimmy Gimble.” I knew he’d studied physics but didn’t realize he’d written a book on the subject. Thanks for the heads up: now I HAVE to read it!

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    • My favourite of his roles is Primeval’s James Lester (I’m a sucker for snark, heh) and I wouldn’t have known had I not started following him on Twitter on the back of Death In Paradise. Funny how these things turn out.

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  3. I am a huge fan of science and I’ve always wanted to find a book out there like this. A book that balances fact and humor in a creative fashion that a general audience can understand. What a great review!

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