Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Naked Scientist

Bare Essentials

The Naked Scientist by Chris Smith

New Scientist, 30 October 2010

If you are not a fan of Jamie Oliver, aka the Naked Chef, then the title alone may be enough to put you off this book. But resist the temptation to judge it by its cover. This is science packaged as light entertainment, with flash-facts and bite-sized stories ranging from how fish help pollinate flowers to why booze makes us drunk. Among the more fascinating entries are a study that found that people are less likely to remember brands advertised during violent and sexually explicit programmes, and the possibility that eating curry could help ward off Alzheimer's.

The Naked Scientist is the alter ego of University of Cambridge virologist Chris Smith, who wants to "strip down science to the bare essentials and expose you to what it really is - addictively enjoyable, interesting and occasionally a bit naughty". With Christmas looming, and in search of an audience, Smith bares just enough to pull it off.