Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe

How did someone figure that out? Can you explain to me why this happens? No matter the topic, individuals are always seeking information as they look to explain complex objects and theories. “Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words” by Randall Munroe uses only one thousand of the most common words to explain various inventions and phenomena in the field of physical science.

In addition to the fundamental language of each description, Munroe also includes straightforward illustrations in a manner that any reader can comprehend. Although some may be disappointed with the lack of scientific vocabulary, I for one appreciate the theme of the book as it provides our students with various examples that do not include the jargon they assume should be used in every explanation.

Within the book Munroe describes ‘things’ that are incorporated into secondary chemistry curriculum such as nuclear reactors, microwaves, and the sun. Other ‘things’ described by Munroe in which our students may already have prior knowledge of, such as the periodic table and the electromagnetic spectrum, can be evaluated in a class discussion as they critique the author’s description and imagery.

  “Thing Explainer:” is an entertaining book for those who are curious about how the objects surrounding them function. If you would like to know more about another publication by Randall Munroe, consider reading Hal Harris’s blog entry “What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions". 

Publication information
Alt. Title: 

Explaining Science in Ten-Hundred of the Most Common Words

Pick Attribution: 

Randall Munroe: Author of "Thing Explainer:" and Creator of , a webcomic

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, May 31, 2016