Review: A short history of nearly everythingEditorial Review - Kirkus Reviews
Bryson (I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1999, etc.), a man who knows how to track down an explanation and make it confess, asks the hard questions of science—e.g., how did things get to be the way they are?—and, when possible, provides answers. As he once went about making English intelligible, Bryson now attempts the same with the great moments of science, both the ideas themselves and their genesis, to resounding success. Piqued by his own ignorance on these matters, he's egged on even more so by the people who've figured out—or think they've figured out—such things as what is in the center of the Earth. So he goes exploring, in the library and in company with scientists at work today, to get a grip on a range of topics from subatomic particles to cosmology. The aim is to deliver reports on these subjects in terms anyone can understand, and for the most part, it works. The most difficult is the nonintuitive material—time as part of space, say, or proteins inventing themselves spontaneously, without direction—and the quantum leaps unusual minds have made: as J.B.S. Haldane once put it, "The universe is not only queerer than we suppose; it is queerer than we can suppose." Mostly, though, Bryson renders clear the evolution of continental drift, atomic structure, singularity, the extinction of the dinosaur, and a mighty host of other subjects in self-contained chapters that can be taken at a bite, rather than read wholesale. He delivers the human-interest angle on the scientists, and he keeps the reader laughing and willing to forge ahead, even over their heads: the human body, for instance, harboring enough energy "to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, assuming you knew how to liberate it and really wished to make a point." Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science into perspective.
Review: A Short History of Nearly EverythingEditorial Review - Bookreporter.com - Kate Ayers
Thank goodness Bill Bryson has an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Here I thought he just walked all over the world and then wrote about it fortunately not. I've read about half a dozen of his books: A WALK IN THE WOODS, NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND, NOTES FROM A BIG COUNTRY, NEITHER HERE NOR THERE, even a dictionary he wrote. Not one of them failed to elicit embarrassing giggles, often at highly ... Read full review
User Review - Flag as inappropriate
I absolutely loved this book because it consolidated a lot of information that I had already known but updated it and in some odd cases was dated. The article published just recently "Non-Africans Are Part Neanderthal, Genetic Research" published July 18, 2011 which can be read at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718085329.htm demonstrates how quickly the scientific community is moving these day.
Dr. Labuda and his team almost a decade ago had identified a piece of DNA (called a haplotype) in the human X chromosome that seemed different and whose origins they questioned. When the Neanderthal genome was sequenced in 2010, they quickly compared 6000 chromosomes from all parts of the world to the Neanderthal haplotype. The Neanderthal sequence was present in peoples across all continents, except for sub-Saharan Africa, and including Australia.
"There is little doubt that this haplotype is present because of mating with our ancestors and Neanderthals. This is a very nice result, and further analysis may help determine more details," says Dr. Nick Patterson, of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, a major researcher in human ancestry who was not involved in this study.
The only angst I experienced reading this book came in the last two pages where Bill Bryson was willing to cede to humanity the job of stewarding the earth. The rest of the book happily presented the earth and it's inhabitants as a cosmic role of the dice where time and probabilities with a lot of luck created everything. I the very end of the book he wanted to hang onto what we have believing that we, humans, are an exogenous species effecting the world around us in a completely unique way.
I for one believe that we are a part of the environment and that what will come through our ability to steward or inability to steward is part of the natural selection process.
Review: A Short History of Nearly EverythingUser Review - Keiron Tumbleton - Goodreads
If your into the nitty-gritty of singularity and big bang and cellular atom structure and the minutiae of geology and paleontology and ...then you'll have a potential interest in this book. The ... Read full review
Review: A Short History of Nearly EverythingUser Review - Mel - Goodreads
I think I learned more from this book than I ever did in any one of the science classes I took in high school. Bryson has a gift for making facts interesting because he takes such an obvious pleasure ... Read full review
Review: A Short History of Nearly EverythingUser Review - Aurelien - Goodreads
In about 600 pages, Bill Bryson has the audacity and talent to tell us not only the history of science and its major discoveries but, also how it works. He even takes advantage of it all to portray ... Read full review
Review: A Short History of Nearly EverythingUser Review - Goodreads
Bill Bryson's own fascination with science began with a battered old school book he had when he was about ten or eleven years old. It had an illustration that captivated him–a diagram showing Earth's ...
Review: A Short History of Nearly EverythingUser Review - Manny - Goodreads
It's easy to nitpick A Short History of Nearly Everything. Bryson, by his own cheerful admission anything but a scientist, makes a fair number of mistakes. He says that all living creatures contain ... Read full review
Review: A Short History of Nearly EverythingUser Review - Sandy Tjan - Goodreads
What I learned from this book (in no particular order) 1. Phosphor was accidentally discovered when a scientist tried to turn human urine into gold. The similarity in color seemed to have been a ... Read full review
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All reviews - 1220
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