What If? 2 Book Summary - What If? 2 Book explained in key points
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What If? 2 summary

Randall Munroe

Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

4.1 (207 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

What If? 2 by Randall Munroe is a book that answers bizarre hypothetical questions with science, wit and creativity. It offers fascinating insights into the forces that shape our world and expands our knowledge in a fun and engaging way.

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    What If? 2
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    What would happen if Jupiter was shrunk to the size of a house and placed in a suburban street?

    Do you want the bad news first, or the good news?

    Well, let’s go with the good news: Jupiter is roughly the same density as water. If Jupiter was house-sized – so, let’s say about 50 feet wide – it would only weigh 2,500 tons. Meaning, your new neighbor isn’t about to mess around with your gravity by forming a black hole.

    The bad news is that Jupiter isn’t actually made of water. Before Jupiter was, well, Jupiter, it was a big diffuse cloud of gas floating through space. Then, gravity caused this gas cloud to collapse in on itself. When gas is compressed it gets hot. Seriously hot. Jupiter, much like Earth, is formed of a thin, cool surface layer that keeps a lid on a scorching hot interior. As in, tens of thousands of degrees hot. Like all things that are blazing hot and super-compressed, Jupiter’s interior wants to expand. It doesn’t, but only because its own super-strong gravitational forces counteract that impulse.

    Shrink Jupiter down to the size of a house and that massive gravitational force disappears.

    So here’s what would happen.

    Jupiter would expand rapidly outward in a boiling-hot fireball. That’s going to have quite a negative impact on property values in your street; because your street is going to be obliterated. In fact, your whole neighborhood is toast.

    But, hey, let’s finish off with some more good news. This explosion will be fairly contained. When it’s not densely compressed, Jupiter’s molten hot core will cool rapidly. And Jupiter will return to its original form – as diffuse clouds of gas floating through the sky.

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    What is What If? 2 about?

    What If? 2 (2022) is Randall Munroe’s follow-up to the New York Times best-selling What If? Like its predecessor, it comprises Munroe’s serious scientific answers to the absurd, funny, and whimsical questions submitted to him by readers, ranging from “How big would a snowball be if rolled from the top of Mt. Everest to the bottom?” to “Could a person eat a cloud?”

    What If? 2 Review

    What If? 2 (2014) by Randall Munroe is a fascinating exploration of bizarre and thought-provoking hypothetical questions. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents scientifically accurate, yet imaginative answers to questions like "What if everyone on Earth pointed a laser pointer at the Moon at the same time?"
    • With its clever illustrations and witty humor, the book combines entertainment and knowledge, making it an enjoyable and enlightening read.
    • By addressing absurd scenarios, it encourages readers to think critically and approach problems from different angles, sparking curiosity and expanding intellectual horizons.

    Who should read What If? 2?

    • Fans of xkcd’s nerd-culture humor
    • People who love science but don’t take it too seriously
    • Anyone who’s ever wondered what would happen if Jupiter were shrunk to the size of a suburban house

    About the Author

    Randall Munroe trained as a physicist and worked building robots at one of NASA’s research labs before quitting to focus full-time on his wildly successful webcomic xkcd, a tongue-in-cheek take on subjects including science, math, computer programming, and internet culture.

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    What If? 2 FAQs 

    What is the main message of What If? 2?

    What If? 2 explores absurd hypothetical questions with scientific accuracy and humorous illustrations.

    How long does it take to read What If? 2?

    The reading time for What If? 2 varies. The Blinkist summary can be read in just minutes.

    Is What If? 2 a good book? Is it worth reading?

    What If? 2 is a delightful read. It combines scientific rigor with playful creativity.

    Who is the author of What If? 2?

    Randall Munroe is the author of What If? 2.

    What to read after What If? 2?

    If you're wondering what to read next after What If? 2, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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