Inflight Science : A Guide to the World from Your Airplane Window, Paperback

Inflight Science : A Guide to the World from Your Airplane Window Paperback

3 out of 5 (11 ratings)


The perfect companion to any flight - a guide to the science on view from your window seat.

There are few times when science is so immediate as when you're in a plane.

Your life is in the hands of the scientists and engineers who enable tons of metal and plastic to hurtle through the sky at hundreds of miles an hour.

Inflight Science shows how you stay alive up there - but that's only the beginning.

Brian Clegg explains the ever changing view, whether it's crop circles or clouds, mountains or river deltas, and describes simple experiments to show how a wing provides lift, or what happens if you try to open a door in midair (don't!).

On a plane you'll experience the impact of relativity, the power of natural radiation and the effect of altitude on the boiling point of tea.

Among the many things you'll learn is why the sky is blue, the cause of thunderstorms and the impact of volcanic ash in an enjoyable tour of mid-air science.

Every moment of your journey is an opportunity to experience science in action: Inflight Science will be your guide.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Popular science
  • ISBN: 9781848312418



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Showing 1 - 5 of 11 reviews.

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Review by

From your arrival at the departure airport, via the security checkpoints and your plane's departure, through to landing in your destination -- Brian Clegg runs you through all the popular science related to a typical flight.While the 'hard science' is somewhat lacking, this is still a worthwhile book that you can't fail to learn one or two things from.Written in an informal and educational manner, Inflight Science feels more like an extended secondary school science lesson than a serious discourse in 'the science of flying'.That said, if you're looking for an easy read, or if you're new to popular science books, then this is a good choice for a long flight: it'll open your eyes and keep you entertained.If you're already well-read in matter of science, this is probably one to miss.

Review by

This is science for the rest of us - anyone with a good knowledge of physics or earth science will have encountered most of this before. However, for those without that background, this is an interesting introduction to science and how we can see manifestations all around us. I found the experiments rather simplistic but the book was well written and one that I would heartily recommend for someone who says that all science is boring.

Review by

I really wanted to like this book. I am a science nerd and I love flying, but ultimately Inflight Science was disappointing. It stays at a very basic and elementary level, it would start to touch on something interesting, but then dart off onto the next topic. The over feel of the book was very scattered and it lacked focus. There is so much that I would love to know about flight, but none of it was in this book.

Review by

As someone who has spent most of his career in the aerospace industry, and currently flies over 50,000 miles a year, I spend a lot of time looking out of airplane windows. This seemed like the perfect book for a plane flight - so that's where I read it. Maybe I was expecting too much, but overall I found the text more frustrating than illuminating.The aeronautical sciences were glossed over, and a lot of the cool technology that makes a modern airliner work left out.And while I did learn some things about the word outside my aircraft window, I felt it either didn't go far enough, or too easily veered off into discussions of irrelevant examples that you would never probably experience in decades of flying.Early in the book Clegg admits that he doesn't enjoy flying, and that fact, at least to me, underscored the tone of the book. It felt like a popular science book shoe horned into a narrative framework that the author wasn't comfortable, or familiar, with. There is a good science book in here struggling to get out - it just needed a different perspective.

Review by

Using the framework of an airplane flight, from waiting at the airport terminal to takeoff and cruising to the return to terra firma, Brian Clegg's "Inflight Science" teaches a broad array of flight related engineering and science. He covers the electromagnetic spectrum, airport security systems, gravity, clouds, how an airplane wing works, relativity, and, naturally, he answers the question "why is the sky blue?"The writing is inviting and clear, never getting too bogged down in the details, yet managing to provide a good overview of many topics. I think it may leave technical-minded readers wanting more, but I think the intent of the book was to provide an engaging overview of the many areas of science and engineering that surround us when we fly. I think it succeeds.

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