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A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003)

by Bill Bryson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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19,298337137 (4.17)465
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)
Recently added byannajobeck, BaileyC, private library, jonathanpapz, paawcik, Josedelaplata, ahuntca, Naz76, bread2u
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» See also 465 mentions

English (302)  Dutch (11)  Spanish (6)  German (5)  Swedish (3)  Italian (3)  Catalan (2)  Portuguese (1)  Hungarian (1)  Piratical (1)  French (1)  All languages (336)
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Paperback
  mikeemcg | Jun 28, 2020 |
2015 (review can be found at the link - which is a LibraryThing page)
https://www.librarything.com/topic/191940#5196203
  dchaikin | Jun 21, 2020 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. My inner (and outer!) nerd was completely satisfied with the tidbits of knowledge that i gleaned throughout the listening of this book. There’s no great deep dive into any one topic, as there’s just way too much to cover in one book. There are deeper dives on a few topics, which was great.

It’s hard to classify this book. I’ve been describing it as a history and science and history of science with a bit of biography and humor thrown in. If you enjoy any of those topics, I recommend giving this book a chance. ( )
  expatb | Jun 8, 2020 |
Thoroughly enjoyed this. Absolutely fascinating and accessible summary of, well, nearly everything. So many new pieces of information floating around my skull and a reinvigorated sense of childish wonder about everything around me and inside of me. ( )
  alexleonard | Jun 7, 2020 |
In my top 5 books of all time. This is purely a science book...except in a way its very ELI5 (explain it like I'm 5) in the way it approaches complicated subjects with Bill Bryson's mastery of writing in an easily approachable way. If you want a book to sit down, lose yourself in, and marvel at the wonders of the universe, Earth, and the human body - look no further. The audiobook read by Bryson is also incredible. ( )
  bhiggs | Apr 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 302 (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 (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bryson, Billprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goddijn, ServaasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gower, NeilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthews, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Päkkilä, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, WilliamNarratorsecondary 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
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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