What if your most fearsome high school bugaboos like physics, chemistry and biology could be reduced and explained in just the 1,000 most commonly used words in the English language?
That is exactly what textbook giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is planning to do in new editions for the subjects expected to be published this summer. And far from just a "Simple English Wiki" version, students will be treated to stick-figure "XKCD" explainers like this, the New York Times reported.
The figures are the creative work of 31-year-old artist Randall Munroe, who in addition to his cult-classic "XKCD" internet comic that he calls "a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language," is the author of two books: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions and Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words. Both works were also published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
"We just all had an a-ha moment," Peggy Smith-Herbst, a senior vice president at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, told the Times. "We always knew we wanted to work with him."
Munroe said he was hoping his work could enliven the dry material and draw more people into the subject. "I'm hoping it will be, 'Oh, here's a kind of fun and unexpected component,'" he told the Times.