Summary and book reviews of Chilled by Tom Jackson

Chilled

How Refrigeration Changed the World and Might Do So Again

by Tom Jackson

Chilled by Tom Jackson X
Chilled by Tom Jackson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2015, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2016, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The refrigerator may seem mundane nowadays, but it is one of the wonders of twentieth-century science - lifesaver, food preserver, social liberator.

Part historical narrative, part scientific decoder, Chilled looks at early efforts to harness the cold at the ice pits of Persia (Iranians still call their fridges the "ice pit") and ice harvests on the Regents Canal. As people learned more about what cold actually was, scientists invented machines for producing it on demand. The discovery of refrigeration and its applications features a cast of characters that includes the Ice King of Boston, Galileo, Francis Bacon, an expert on gnomes, a magician who chilled a cathedral, a Renaissance duke addicted to iced eggnog, and a Bavarian nobleman from New England.

Refrigeration technology has been crucial in some of the most important scientific breakthroughs of the last one hundred years, from the discovery of superconductors to the search for the Higgs boson. Refrigeration is needed to make soap, store penicillin, and without it, in vitro fertilization would be impossible. And the fridge will still be pulling the strings behind the scenes as teleporters and intelligent-computer brains turn our science-fiction vision of the future into fact.

Introduction

The refrigerator is something of a Boo Radley, the cloistered figure in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird: it's normally pale, frequently indoors, seldom thought about much but always there, and in the end (spoiler alert) we need it to make everything all right.

The point is that among the cast of characters that tell the story of refrigeration and its impact on humanity, the refrigerator itself does not have much of a starring role. It just hangs around in the background most of the time, being cool.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that refrigerators, fridges, are nothing to get excited about. They are nothing special. There are hundreds of millions of them. Every household in the developed world has one; a quarter of American homes have at least two. And elsewhere a refrigerator is at the top of the wish list of household appliances – just below the television. When we fancy something cold – an ice cream, glass of milk, chilled beer – ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

From the sands of ancient Persia to the refrigeration technologies of tomorrow, Chilled is a fact-filled ride sure to please the nerd in all of us. It’s...er...a wicked cool story.   (Reviewed by Poornima Apte).

Full Review (641 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.

Media Reviews

Booklist

Jackson's spirited explanations of centuries-old scientific experiments relating to the transmutation of gases into water, finding absolute zero, and identifying chemical elements-to name a few-will be most appreciated by readers with a strong interest in the physical sciences.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Jackson (Physics: An Illustrated History of the Foundations of Science) packs an amazing amount of information into this fascinating history of humanity's ongoing quest for refrigeration.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. There's much to wonder at in Jackson's captivating book.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Yakhchal

YakhchalLong before the advent of the refrigerator, around 400 BCE, the ancient Persians had figured out a way of making ice and having it readily available even over the summer. At its most basic, the solution took advantage of the low humidity and cool desert nights, especially in winter, to make ice and then store it in an insulated building called the yakhchal all through the summer months. The yakhchal, quite a few of which are still standing today, are tall structures that look like inverted ice cream cones or spinning tops.

Inside of a QanatPersia used a qanat system of irrigation which is essentially a gently sloping system of channels, situated underground, used to divert water from aquifers as needed. To make the ice, each yakhchal had a series of ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Chilled, try these:

  • The Vaccine Race jacket

    The Vaccine Race

    by Meredith Wadman

    Published 2018

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    The epic and controversial story of a major breakthrough in cell biology that led to the conquest of rubella and other devastating diseases.

  • The Making of Home jacket

    The Making of Home

    by Judith Flanders

    Published 2016

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    The 500-year story of how, and why, our homes have come to be what they are, from the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Invention of Murder and The Victorian City

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Call Me American
    Call Me American
    by Abdi Nor Iftin
    As a boy growing up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin loved watching action ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    A hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Place for Us
    by Fatima Farheen Mirza

    A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi by Neel Patel

Patel's stories introduce a bold and timely new literary voice.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A P Saved I A P E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.