Cover: Superfoods, Silkworms, and Spandex: Science and Pseudoscience in Everyday Life by Dr. Joe Schwarcz

Superfoods, Silkworms, and Spandex: Science and Pseudoscience in Everyday Life

Schwarcz, Dr. Joe

  • In this new collection of bite-size pop science essays, bestselling author, chemistry professor, and radio broadcaster Dr. Joe Schwarcz shows that you can find science virtually anywhere you look. And the closer you look, the more fascinating it becomes. In this volume, we look through our magnifying glass at maraschino cherries, frizzy hair, duct tape, pickle juice, yellow school buses, aphrodisiacs, dental implants, and bull testes. If those don’t tickle your fancy, how about aconite murders, shot towers, book smells, Swarovski crystals, French wines, bees, or head transplants? You can also learn about the scientific escapades of James Bond, California’s confusing Proposition 65, the problems with oxygen on Mars, Valentine’s Meat Juice, the benefits of pasteurization, the pros and cons of red light therapy, the controversy swirling around perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), why English cucumbers are wrapped in plastic, and how probiotics may have seeded Hitler’s downfall.

    Superfoods, Silkworms, and Spandex answers all your burning questions about the science of everyday life, like:

    • why “superfood” is a marketing term, not a scientific one;
    • why plastic wrap is sometimes the environmental choice;
    • why supplements to reduce inflammation may just reduce your bank account;
    • how maraschino cherries went from a luxury good to a cheap sundae topper;
    • what’s behind “old book smell”;
    • how margarine became a hot item for bootleggers;
    • why duct tape is useful, but not on ducts; and
    • how onstage accidents led to fireproof fabrics.

    Available May 21, 2024. PRE-ORDER NOW!

    Check availability at your local Canadian independent bookstore:

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  • Dr. Joe Schwarcz is the director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, which has the mission of separating sense from nonsense. He hosts a radio show, appears on television, and writes a regular newspaper column. Dr. Joe is also an amateur magician and lives in Montreal, Quebec.

  • Published: May 2024

    ISBN: 9781770417526

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 in.

    Pages: 260

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“Dr. Joe gets it right once again! Using fascinating stories that merge the joy of discovery with the history of chemistry, he asks the simplest of questions about the objects that surround us in our everyday environment — questions that we rarely ask ourselves but the answers to which explain everything from pheromones to phlegm and from vampires to vaccines.” — Patricia Brubaker, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada