The Agenda of the Apprentice Scientist
Written by Nicole Ostrowsky
Illustrated by Theresa Bronn
Translated from French by Radhika Viswanathan with Gillian Rosner
Published by Universities Press
Ages 7-70 (as it says in a foreword by none other than CNR Rao.)
As parents, we come across this experience almost daily- whether in the sphere of academics or otherwise- our children ask us something, and sometimes (OK, a lot of times) it is something that we may not be very sure of ourselves. When I am faced with such a situation, I often try to explain the concept to my daughter, regardless, but smart cookie that she is, she sees through the attempt. Then I have to admit I need to learn more about / think through about the topic at hand, before I can explain it to her to her satisfaction.
So the acid test of whether one has understood something or not is if one can explain something to a child in clear, simple terms. That is just what this book, written by French physicist Dr Nicole Ostrowsky, who believes in a hands-on approach to education, is about.
There is one new idea / question / problem to ponder on for each day of the year, so we are introduced to 365 concepts, some known, some unknown. All fun to work on. The experiments involve easy-to-obtain-at-home articles, and some days it is just an observation that needs pondering on.
Of course, true to her interest in the field, Dr Ostrowsky deals more with physics here, with quite a bit of spillover into mathematics and the other basic sciences. Each day’s topic eases into the next days at many places, with a whole spectrum of ideas discussed over many days.
My favourite features, the quirky illustrations and the relevant quotes on each page! On the Aug 24 page-look above- there is a quote by Jean Loup Chiflet-“It was so hot that the thermometer read: see the next column!”
A real lifesaver for parents, and fun for children.
Book cover image courtesy flipkart.