Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review of The Martian by Andy Weir

I couldn't put down The Martian, a story of an astronaut trying to survive after being accidentally left behind on Mars. I saw it reviewed in the WSJ which is surprising given how geeky it is.

He figured out the chemical reaction that would allow Watney to make 600 liters of water out of hydrazine and CO2. He calculated how many calories Watney would need to survive four years—2,137,500—how many potatoes that requires, and how much formable land he would need to develop for his potato crop.

Figuring out the technical aspects of Watney's struggle helped him map out the plot. "If you get down into the deep details, the science tells you the story," he said.
Edit: I should mention that one of the things that's so worthwhile about this is that Watney is saving himself using dimensional analysis. You can be a good investor without understanding Black-Scholes, but you need to understand dimensional analysis. For example, looking at mining and understanding that resource extraction cost varies inversely (roughly linearly) with ore concentration.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The audiobook has been selected for the Audies! (The oscars of the audiobook world). I got it off