Science Goes Viral: Captivating Accounts of Science in Everyday Life

Schwarcz, Dr. Joe

  • Bestselling popular science author Dr. Joe Schwarcz breaks down the science of essential oils, placenta creams, intermittent fasting, and of course the spread of COVID-19 misinformation in this new collection from the master of demarcating non-science from science

    Science has gone viral! In more ways than one.

    Since we first heard rumblings about a novel type of pneumonia in Wuhan, China, terms like pandemic, spike protein, viral particles, variants, mRNA vaccines, antibodies, hydroxychloroquine, social distancing, immune response, convalescent plasma, aerosol transmission, and of course, face coverings, have entered our everyday vocabulary. The scientific literature has exploded with studies exploring every facet of COVID-19, but unfortunately the “viral” spread of misinformation about the pandemic has also reached epic proportions.

    Science Goes Viral provides a framework for coming to grips with the onslaught of COVID-19 information and misinformation in this ever-changing pandemic. Here, you’ll learn about the first antibodies ever identified, the connection between tonic water and coronavirus, and whether we can zap COVID with copper. And although our thoughts and daily activities have been hijacked by the pandemic, life does go on, as does the pursuit of science. Dr. Joe features his usual array of diverse topics, including biblical dyes, essential oils, Jean Harlow’s hair, Lincoln’s magician, and bioplastics, along with assorted examples of quackery.

    Delving into the many fascinating facets of science can serve as a welcome distraction from the COVID curse. In fact, enchantment with science can also be contagious. Will you be infected?


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  • Dr. Joe Schwarcz is director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, dedicated to demystifying science and separating sense from nonsense. He is a popular lecturer, both to students and to the larger public. He hosts The Dr. Joe Show on Montreal radio and is the author of 17 bestselling titles. Dr. Joe lives in Montreal, Quebec.

  • Published: October 2021

    ISBN: 9781770416505

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 in.

    Pages: 264


“Dr. Joe is at his best in this trip through history, science, and communicable disease, and in plain language helps us understand the dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic.” — Hon. Kelvin K. Ogilvie, CM, Chemist and Canadian Senator (2009–2017)

“Joe Schwarcz does it again with this fun, fast-paced, and evidence-informed exploration of the hot topics in science we’ve been bombarded with over the past few years! From the biology of vaccines (including the new mRNA variety) and immune boosting (spoiler: you can’t) to the history of epidemiology and toilet paper, Schwarcz gives us the fact-filled low-down. In a world filled with misinformation and twisted science, this is a must-read!” — Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, bestselling author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?

“To all the people who feel that science is a dry and boring affair, this book will be an eye-opener. Joe Schwarcz has a great talent for turning science into amusing and entertaining, yet informative and easy-to-understand stories. It is, I think, impossible not to be fascinated by this terrific book.” — Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor of Complementary Medicine, University of Exeter

“It is full of interesting information solidly based in science. If you read it, you will learn. You will laugh. You will be smarter. You will do better in trivia contests.” — Science-Based Medicine