August 15th 2005

A short history of nearly everything. Bill Bryson

A short history of nearly everything. Bill Bryson. 2004. ISBN
0385660049. When I want to armchair travel, Bryson is the writer I
enjoy. This is a very different and good book. If you are anything like
me, having last thought about all the “other” sciences when you were in
university, then this book is for you. Bryson looks at all the tough
questions going on in natural science, makes them lifelike and brings us
up to date on current thinking. His descriptions of quantum physics are
as clear as his discussion of tectonic plates theory right through to
what paleontologists are saying about homo sapien and its roots. The
genetics chapter is useful even if you are up to date on DNA and RNA.
The bonus is his delight in the people who have made the discoveries and
mistakes over time. I had never heard about Lord Kelvin described just
this way before – he brings them to life in a few short pages. I predict
that this will be a science classic. Lots of answers to “Why is ?”

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