"Ball engages fearlessly with all the questions most non-scientists can never answer: how hydrogen and oxygen came to combine following the Big Bang; why water freezes from the top down; why snowflakes have six points; and how water came to cover two-thirds of our planet. He writes clearly, humorously and with an enviable range of literary allusions about a subject which would tie others in knots. This is a science book to recommend highly."
Charles Clover, Daily Telegraph
"The breadth of Ball's coverage is deeply impressive. By dint of a lot of flair and eclectic learning, he makes us look afresh at the most commonplace subject imaginable. This is one of the best science books of the year."
Graham Farmelo, New Scientist
"Philip Ball is a brilliant science writer and a risk-taker... He has handled this incredibly complex scientific brief more skilfully and entertainingly than anybody else could have done."
Anna Paterson, Sunday Herald (Glasgow)
"In a tour de force of scientific exposition, Philip Ball ranges from the cosmos to the inside of cells... A reader can learn more interesting chemistry, physics, biology, geology and environmental science from this volume than from a collection of reference books."
Harvey Shepard, The Philadelphia Inquirer