It’s not surprising to learn that, as a child, UC Berkeley physics professor Richard Muller loved “Mr Ripley’s  Believe it or Not?”

Muller has just published a new book which is chock full of astonishing facts that will liven up a dinner party conversation, even if they don’t lead you to become an overnight physicist as the book’s title promises.

In “The Instant Physicist: An Illustrated Guide” you will learn, for example, that although plutonium is often referred to as “the most toxic substance known to man, it is actually 1,000 times less toxic than Botox, which people routinely have injected into their faces; also, that liquor, by law must be radioactive.

Muller hopes the book, which is illustrated with cartoons by Joey Manfre, will convey to the lay crowd how science and technology is changing their lives — in as painless a way as possible.

Read more at UC Berkeley’s NewsCenter.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...