There are Known Knowns,
Known Unknowns, and
And then there is Dr Karl.
The inimitable Dr Karl reigns once more in his Dynasty of 34 Science Books with scintillating science scenarios, techie tales and tasty morsels to sate even the most haemoglobin-thirsty of his army of followers.
In Game of Knowns, he divulges why psychopaths make good kings, how smartphones dumb down our conversations, why the left side of your face is the most attractive, how the female worker bee gets a raw deal and why we drink beer faster when it is served in a curved glass. He discloses the amazing opportunities that 3D Printing will bring, the magic of hoverboards, solemnly shares why dark matter matters, and spills the scientific basis of wealth distribution.
Thereby Science is decreed to be the only true ruler of the kingdom, and there is none better to claim the Throne than Australia's most trusted and knowledge-thirsty scientist - Dr Karl.
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki is the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney. He is a qualified medical doctor, engineer, physicist and mathematician. This MasterGeek consistently appears on the list of the Top 15 Most Trusted Australians, and was this year named one of Australia's National Living Treasures.
Game Of Knowns
Author: Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
Question: Can you tell us about Game Of Knowns?
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki: Game Of Knowns is my 34th book and it's basically a hand-book for the twenty-first century. In our society there is alcohol everywhere and in India there is no alcohol anywhere, none at all, as it is not a part of their culture. I went to the launch of a phone network, in India, for Richard Branson and there was sweet iced tea served rather than alcohol.
Question: Why did this inspire you to write Game Of Knowns?
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki: In our culture, there is alcohol everywhere, but we don't know how to use or deal with it. For example if you have two rum and diet colas you'll get drunker and be over the limit compared to having two rum and regular colas. We need to know about the alcohol that we use, all the time.
The body can only process so many kilojoules per minute so if you're processing diet cola then it goes through your system quickly and the alcohol goes straight into the blood stream, if you have a regular cola then the sugar slows down the rate at which the alcohol leaves the gut and as a result you are less likely to get a DUI because your blood alcohol level is lower.
Question: How do you discover and explain facts such as; why we drink beer faster when it is served in a curved glass?
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki: This is also related to the fact that we do not understand alcohol, properly, in our society. With a curved glass we do not judge it by the volume but by the height and if you are drinking from a curved glass which bulges at the top you will get drunker than you thought you would. Game Of Knowns helps you deal with this crazy world, that we are in.
Question: How does Game Of Knowns approach mobile phones?
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki: If you're having a conversation with someone and there is a mobile phone on the table, your conversation won't be as deep as if you didn't have the mobile phone, there. The mobile phone presence keeps your conversations light, trivial and shallow.
I find that everyone is always waiting for a better offer. A test was conducted with people who went into a room, to chat and when they were in the room there would be a book on a side table or a mobile phone. When the book was present the group could go right ahead and talk deeply but when there was a mobile phone present the group couldn't talk as deeply.
Question: What will readers like most about the book?
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki: I find it's important that we knows these facts for the twenty-first century. I also talk about dark matter and dark energy which at the moment is totally incomprehensible but in less than a century it will be a big part of our lives.
For example black coals gave us WiFi; back in 1972 an Australian scientist was trying to find black holes exploding in the universe and the signal was so weak he had to use special mathematics and this mathematics was essential for inventing WiFi. At the time you wouldn't have thought that the scientist looking for black holes would allow you to look up your Facebook page.
The dark matter that I talk about are things we have no idea how in the future we will use them but I am sure that in centuries from now someone will say to their child -Johnny, stop playing with your dark matter and come inside and have dinner…" Einstein's Theory of Relativity gave us GPS and who would have thought we would use that to navigate our way to a bar on Saturday night.
Interview by Brooke Hunter