Elephants on Acid and other Bizarre Experiments by Alex Boese

In this book, Alex has collected a strange collection of experiments.. some are from many years ago, others are more recent. They cover all kinds of subjects, but have been collected together under ten themes, with chapters such as ‘Total Recall’ and ‘Making Mr Hyde’. Each experiment is summarised by the author, rather than going into too many details.. but for those interested, there are references given, where one can find those extra details.

There is a lot of variety in the experiments, and looking at other reviews, some people have found some a little distasteful, particularly the experiments on animals. The key here, I believe, is to remember that Alex is simply reporting on these experiments, not carrying them out, or endorsing them.

Here’s a  small selection of questions asked… can wine tasters tell the difference between wines.. and more importantly, can people tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi?! Do babies choose a balanced diet if left to their own devices? Can you learn as you sleep? What happens if you stay awake for eleven days? Can you catch yellow fever by drinking vomit? And finally, if you fell down a mine shaft, would your dog get help?

In summary, it’s a very mixed book.. some of the experiements are disturbing, some are funny. A few of the experiments are quite well know, others rather obscure. It’s a book you can read from beginning to end, or pick and choose. It’s a good ‘coffee table’ book, and would spark some conversations.

Published by panmacmillan 01/08/08 £10 trade paperback

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