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Randall Munroe, XKCD creator, discussing “Thing Explainer”

December 10, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Illinois Science Council is thrilled to host Randall Munroe, creator of XKCD, discussing his latest book, “Thing Explainer.” Tickets on sale Tuesday, Sept. 22 here.

From Munroe’s blog:

A while ago, I posted the comic Up Goer Five, an annotated blueprint of the Saturn V rocket with all the parts described using only the thousand most common English words.

Today, I’m excited to announce that I’m publishing a collection of large-format (9″x13″) Up Goer Five-style blueprints. The book is full of detailed diagrams of interesting objects, along with explanations of what all the parts are and how they work.

The titles, labels, and descriptions are all written using only the thousand most common English words. Since this book explains things, I’ve called it Thing Explainer.

Thing Explainer Book Cover

The diagrams in Thing Explainer cover all kinds of neat stuff—including computer buildings (datacenters), the flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates), the stuff you use to steer a plane (airliner cockpit controls), and the little bags of water you’re made of (cells).

Thing Explainer will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on November 24th. You can preorder it now; click here for links to more information and options.

Or, in the spirit of the book:

I had a good time drawing Up Goer Five, so I decided to draw more pictures like that and make a book of them. The book explains things, so it’s called Thing Explainer. You can’t have Thing Explainer yet, but if you want, you can order it now, and you’ll get it about a month before the end of the year. Touch these blue words to learn how to get Thing Explainer.

Each ticket to this event includes one copy of “Thing Explainer.” If capacity allows, additional tickets will be made available for those not wanting to purchase a book.  



December 10, 2015
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Illinois Science Council


222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, 12th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654 United States