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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill…
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A Short History of Nearly Everything (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Bill Bryson

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15,186275124 (4.16)351
Member:Othemts
Title:A Short History of Nearly Everything
Authors:Bill Bryson
Info:Broadway (2004), Paperback, 560 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned (inactive)
Rating:***
Tags:READ2004

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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (2003)

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» See also 351 mentions

English (249)  Dutch (10)  German (4)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (1)  French (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (274)
Showing 1-5 of 249 (next | show all)
Amazing book! Very informative. ( )
  Ber239 | Sep 28, 2014 |
This book was a present, and looked daunting because of the size and the topic it covered. I wouldn't class this as a book for non-scientists. I would very much recommend this book for students of science. It brings to life the scientific discoveries of the past in such a way that shows how science progress is anything but dry and clear-cut. It is full of colourful characters who made unfathomable sacrifices (knowing and unknowingly) to further human knowledge. Science taught in school could have been made so much more memorable if such stories as Bill Bryson has told here were dropped in anecdotally alongside the science itself. I spent so long reading this book, that I have forgotten how it begins. I could only handle it a bit at a time, as a lot of useful information was offered alongside the stories. It left me wanting to learn more. There was an interesting moment, however, a bit of the book out-of-date. Just after I read about the Marianna Trench and how nobody had yet explored it, I heard in the news last year (or was it the year before) that James Cameron had managed to send a sub to the bottom of the Trench. Very strangely topical for a history book. I must read this again, but will give it a few years reast perhaps. ( )
  LindaLiu | Sep 16, 2014 |
I hate science, but thanks to Bill Bryson, I devoured a 500 page book about it. Humorous anecdotes, eccentric scientists, fascinating footnotes, and a delightful way with words and images that engage and amuse. Bryson writes to the reader who comes to the table with no aptitude for science just a desire to learn. I drew different conclusions than he did and don’t agree with his evolutionary bent, but I enjoyed the read just the same. I wish this had been my text in school and Bryson had been my professor. I recommend this book for the life-long learner and curious reader. Great stuff! ( )
  TheLoopyLibrarian | Sep 3, 2014 |
Great book. Popular science history from the Big Bang to the present. ( )
  ohernaes | Aug 29, 2014 |
This was like watching a documentary but in more detail. I enjoyed every bit of it, extremely well done. I highly recommend it to any science fanatics out there. ( )
1 vote yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 249 (next | show all)
The more I read of ''A Short History of Nearly Everything,'' the more I was convinced that Bryson had achieved exactly what he'd set out to do, and, moreover, that he'd done it in stylish, efficient, colloquial and stunningly accurate prose.
 
"Una breve historia de casi todo" explica como ha evolucionado el mundo para acabar siendo lo que es hoy. Explica cualquier aspecto de nuestro universo, desde el más recóndito al más conocido.
added by Jaism94 | editBill Bryson
 
The book's underlying strength lies in the fact that Bryson knows what it's like to find science dull or inscrutable. Unlike scientists who turn their hand to popular writing, he can claim to have spent the vast majority of his life to date knowing very little about how the universe works.
 

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bryson, Billprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goddijn, ServaasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthews, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Päkkilä, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The physicist Leo Szilard once announced to his friend Hans Bethe that he was thinking of keeping a diary: 'I don't intend to publish. I am merely going to record the facts for the information of God.' ''Don't you think God knows the facts?" Bethe asked. 'Yes,' said Szilard. 'He knows the facts, but He does not know this version of the facts.' - Hans Christian von Baeyer, Taming the Atom.
Dedication
To Meghan and Chris. Welcome.
First words
No matter how hard you try you will never be able to grasp just how tiny, how spatially unassuming, is a proton.
Quotations
They're all in the same plane. They're all going around in the same direction. . . .It's perfect, you know. It's gorgeous. It's almost uncanny. - Astronomer Geoffrey Marcy describing the solar system
Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night; / God said, Let Newton be! and all was light. - Alexander Pope
A physicist is the atoms' way of thinking about atoms. - Anonymous
The history of any one part of the Earth, like the life of a soldier, consists of long periods of boredom and short periods of terror. - British geologist Derek V. Ager
The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming. - Freeman Dyson
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 076790818X, Paperback)

From primordial nothingness to this very moment, A Short History of Nearly Everything reports what happened and how humans figured it out. To accomplish this daunting literary task, Bill Bryson uses hundreds of sources, from popular science books to interviews with luminaries in various fields. His aim is to help people like him, who rejected stale school textbooks and dry explanations, to appreciate how we have used science to understand the smallest particles and the unimaginably vast expanses of space. With his distinctive prose style and wit, Bryson succeeds admirably. Though A Short History clocks in at a daunting 500-plus pages and covers the same material as every science book before it, it reads something like a particularly detailed novel (albeit without a plot). Each longish chapter is devoted to a topic like the age of our planet or how cells work, and these chapters are grouped into larger sections such as "The Size of the Earth" and "Life Itself." Bryson chats with experts like Richard Fortey (author of Life and Trilobite) and these interviews are charming. But it's when Bryson dives into some of science's best and most embarrassing fights--Cope vs. Marsh, Conway Morris vs. Gould--that he finds literary gold. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:32 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

In this book Bill Bryson explores the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer and attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. To that end, Bill Bryson apprenticed himself to a host of the world's most profound scientific minds, living and dead. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people, like himself, made bored (or scared) stiff of science by school. His interest is not simply to discover what we know but to find out how we know it. How do we know what is in the center of the earth, thousands of miles beneath the surface? How can we know the extent and the composition of the universe, or what a black hole is? How can we know where the continents were 600 million years ago? How did anyone ever figure these things out? On his travels through space and time, Bill Bryson encounters a splendid gallery of the most fascinating, eccentric, competitive, and foolish personalities ever to ask a hard question. In their company, he undertakes a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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