We Have No Idea is an illustrated popular science book which delves into the biggest unknowns in the universe, why these unknowns still exist, and what scientists are doing to figure out the answers, or at least ask the right questions. The authors use comics and humor to help explain some of the most complicated things in the universe, from quarks to gravitational waves to black holes, helping the reader to see the universe as an expanse of uncharted territory with so much left to explore.
If you’re prepared to LOL – which is to say, quite actually laugh out loud – while reading a physics books, We Have No Idea is for you. This guide to the unknown universe, written by comics creator Jorge Cham and particle physicist Daniel Whiteson, is unlike any other physics book you’ve read.
We Have No Idea is in a class with Randall Munroe, creator of the hugely popular and often science-focused webcomic XKCD, not just for the clever doodles and wit, but for the ability to break down some pretty complicated scientific ideas into analogies anyone can understand. Not only that, but this book actually covers some new ground; it’s not just another pop-sci rehash of the story of the universe – though even if it had been, it still would have been one of the most enjoyable popular science rehashes I’d ever read. But no, Cham and Whiteson go above and beyond and explain things on the very fringes of science (all the things about which we, uh, have no idea, from dark energy to cosmic rays and everything in between) in a really clever and easy to parse way.
If this is your first foray into popular science and you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say dark energy and cosmic rays and you’re a little shaky on what I mean when I “popular science,” have no fear. You’re in good hands. Cham and Whiteson start at the very beginning (literally!) and use entertainment and art (and cats!) to get you to the very reaches of our understanding, and they do it with humor and familiarity. If you’re an old pop-sci pro, prepare to be more entertained than this genre has offered in a long time.