A big part of Dr. Joe’s job as director of McGill University’s Office of Science and Society is persuading people that the pursuit of science knowledge is a potential source of wonder, enlightenment and well-being for everyone. And as a chemist, he’s particularly keen to rescue chemistry from the bad rep it’s developed over recent decades. There is more to chemistry than toxins, pollution, and “Don’t drink that soda–it’s full of chemicals.”
The evangelic zeal Dr. Joe brings to his day job is of course also the driving force behind his work as an author. Once again, here he is to tell that everything is full of chemicals, and that chemistry means health, nutrition, beauty products, cleaning products, DNA, and the means by which Lady Gaga’s meat dress was held together.
In the style established with the bestselling Brain Fuel, each section here is themed and contains a mixture of short, pithy items and slightly longer mini-essays. And as before–but never with such energy and relish–Dr. Joe goes on the attack against charlatans in the alternative health trade, naming and shaming them in a particularly entertaining and edifying section of the book called “Claptrap.”
You will learn whether to put broccoli on a pizza before or after baking, whether beauty pills are worth taking, and whether the baby shampoo you’re using is poisonous. You will discover but not use, please, the recipe for a Molotov cocktail. You will be enabled to enthrall fellow dinner guests with the derivation of the name Persil, and the definition of a kangarian (it’s someone who only eats kangaroo meat).
As ever, this torrent of entertainment is delivered in Dr. Joe’s unmistakably warm, lively and authorative voice.