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Kilas Buku: What If by Randall Munroe


"What If" is a book contains long-full-detail-scientific answers to absurd-sometime serious-sometime silly-hypothetical questions. So it's like an open question-answer from ordinary people to superhuman who can think deeply about science.

This book starts with a conversation between the writer himself and his mother. The curious 5-year-old boy asked his mother everything he could ask. The mother didn't answer it with explanation. She just responded him with no more than four words ("I guess", "right", etc). So, basically the boy asked and answered the questions by himself and the mother sent her agreement.

Good thing is the boy grew up with his curiosity and became a success scientist. He even with nicely opened QA session and tried to answer many silly questions like those in this book. But some of silly questions can be answered using scientific explanation successfully. Yay! :)

The first question to be responded was what if the earth stop spinning. Wow. The first thing came to my mind was "yaumil akhir" or "the last day" for all mankind. I already knew the answer from the holy book I read. But the writer didn't tend to any stuffs but science. He said that everything would be blown up and terrible things would happen. For more explanation you can read it by yourself, because this is not my expertise area.

Other questions I was interested in are;

  1. what we would like if we traveled back in time in the same place 1000 years - 1,000,000 years. Here the writer elaborate on the topic nicely. He told us not only about science but also the history itself (in this case Times Square, NY).
  2. What alien would see if they looked at our star right now. And the fact is the space is really big that you catch the signal easily. So, IMNSHO, we couldn't communicate with our alien friend as easy as we could think of. It's really a complicated thing.
  3. How long a person would last if his DNA vanished. Errr...

Weird and worrying questions

On some pages you will find some of weird questions the writer shared. Someone would ask about sound in space, or have an idea to stop a volcano eruption by placing a bomb underneath the surface. Wew. I bet you will laugh on them or shake your head so hard until dizziness come to you.

The mind-blowing one

Yes, this book is kind of mind-blowing one. I'm happy to have this book although I don't really understand on the smart explanation in it. Well, you can blame me to not so smart at Physics-Math-all science things. To Understand it, I sometime ask my husband to extract the hard things (most of them) in this book to simple statement.

Well, You shouldn't read the whole book if you don't really into it. Just skip some information ahead and find what you really want to know.

Finally, 4 stars for this book. :)

The writer

source: wikipedia
His name is Randal Munroe, the son of engineer. He was born in Easton, Pensylvania, The US. Once he worked at NASA, but that company didn't renew his contract. So he started to write xkcd full time. is comics with theme mostly in science, language, and romance.

Book information

Title: What If
Author: Randall Munroe
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 24th 2015 by John Murray

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