Stuff – George Graybill

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*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*




Stuff 41BLDIpI5-LBlurb:  From Archimedes’ bathtub to Schrödinger’s cat, the reader follows the dramatic and humorous events in the history of the ongoing struggle to understand the basic nature of matter and, in the process, painlessly absorbs all the major concepts of middle school physical science.

The structure of the book takes advantage of the fact that basic concepts about the nature of matter were discovered in roughly the same sequence they are taught. The book begins with the ancient Greeks, who first talked about atoms from a viewpoint that was more philosophical than scientific. The story of the next 2,000 years highlights the events and characters in the history of the study of matter. The book ends on the note that all the knowledge we have gained has led us back to asking philosophical questions such as, “Why does matter exist?” The tone is one of whimsy, weirdness, and irreverence. Although historical events are embellished or even completely fabricated for comic effect, it is always clear that the science is accurate. Adult readers will find this book thoroughly entertaining, but it can also serve as a supplement to a middle school physical science class. It should appeal to students who can’t get enough of science and to those looking for something less boring than their textbook.


Stuff is a quirky and fun look at the history of science, covering physics, chemistry, philosophy and alchemy on the way.

The book is written in an easily-accessible and humorous style and the weightier explanations are broken up nicely with human-interest anecdotes and wittily-captioned pictures.

I personally have very little knowledge of, or interest in, scientific precepts and methods, and yet I devoured this book eagerly and felt more knowledgeable at the end than I did at the start.

As a parent, I will definitely be ordering a copy of this book once my children are old enough to be studying the physical sciences and I can recommend it for adult learners and those with a passing casual interest in science too.

This book does for science what the Horrible Histories books do for history!


Some parts of this book are pure horse pucky.  Many of the descriptions of the events surrounding the great discoveries about the nature of matter have been invented for your entertainment.  On the other hand, all the facts about matter are true.  If you read this book, you will learn a large chunk of chemistry and physics, which are the sciences that try to understand stuff.  Please don’t study this book or try to learn any of this science.  You have too much homework already.  Hopefully, the stories will be interesting enough to keep you reading, and the science part will just soak in.  It will be like eating ice cream that someone has secretly injected with vitamins.

– George Graybill, Stuff


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Find more from George (Dick) Graybill at his website here, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Stuff is available on Amazon right now!



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