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Posted By Peter Bentley
An eagle-eyed ex-engineer has spotted a dodgy explanation in The Undercover Scientist. I trust this reader, for it's my Dad:

On pages 57 and 58 of the Undercover Scientist you refer to pistons connected to a camshaft. I think you meant crankshaft. The cams are the lozenge shaped bumps on the camshaft which operate the engine valves.

Yes, we somehow all managed to miss this one. The book should read: "Each push on the rim is a linear motion, and that is converted into a rotary motion by the hoop. Connect a piston to a crankpin (often connected to a crankshaft) and the piston rotates the crankpin, pushing it round and round." and later "Nevertheless, the principles of the engine remain exactly the same: fuel and air is injected into the cylinders and is ignited by sparks (produced by the spark plugs), the resulting pressure from the explosion moves the pistons, which pushes the crankshaft around, and through a series of gears, makes the wheels turn."

Future editions (and foreign versions) will have this amendment... Thanks Dad.

2 Comment(s):
Peter Bentley said...
I've just noticed another wording mistake. In the "Pain in the Neck" chapter the text says, "The sting of bees and wasps is for defence only" when it should say "The sting of bees is for defence only." As I'm sure you know, unlike bees, many wasps are carnivores and use their stings to paralyze and/or kill their prey.
July 13, 2008 13:51:57
Peter Bentley said...
Turns out the same eagle-eyed engineer noticed another wording error. As I hope all careful readers will notice, water is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, and not the other way around as written on page 193! We'll have this correction in future editions too.
July 3, 2008 09:46:33
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