Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely at home he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. Bill Bryson's challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. The ultimate eye-opening journey through time and space, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the biggest-selling popular science book of the 21st century, and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
a short history of nearly everything
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Now revised and updated to take in the major scientific developments of the past decade, A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's classic quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. Winner of the Aventis Prize for Science Books and the Descartes Science Communcation Prize, it became a huge bestseller, and remains one of the most popular science books of all time. Bill Bryson's challenge was to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there wasn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. On his travels through time and space, he encounters a splendid collection of astonishingly eccentric, competitive, obsessive and foolish scientists, and takes us on an eye-opening journey through time and space, revealing the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
One of the world's most beloved and bestselling writers takes his ultimate journey -- into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer. In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail -- well, most of it. In In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand -- and, if possible, answer -- the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world's most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining. From the Hardcover edition.
Bill's own fascination with science began with a battered old schoolbook he had when he was about ten or eleven years old in America. It had an illustration that captivated him - a cutaway diagram showing Earth's interior as it would look if you cut into it with a large knife and carefully removed about a quarter of its bulk. And he very clearly remembers thinking: "How do they know that?" Bill's story-telling skill makes the "How?" and, just as importantly, the "Who?" of scientific discovery entertaining and accessible for all ages. In this exciting edition for younger readers, he covers the wonder and mysteries of time and space, the frequently bizarre and often obsessive scientists and the methods they used, the crackpot theories which held sway for far too long, the extraordinary accidental discoveries which suddenly advanced whole areas of science when the people were actually looking for something else (or in the wrong direction) and the mind-boggling fact that, somehow, the universe exists and, against all odds, life came to be on this wondrous planet we call home.
Top Notes study guide for HSC English 2015-2018. The notes are aligned with the "Discovery" theme. Includes notes on the "Discovery" module, plot, character analysis, setting, thematic concerns, useful quotes. Also includes practice essay questions and a modelled response.
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In At Home, Bill Bryson applies the same irrepressible curiosity, irresistible wit, stylish prose and masterful storytelling that made A Short History of Nearly Everything one of the most lauded books of the last decade, and delivers one of the most entertaining and illuminating books ever written about the history of the way we live. Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote a lot more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business - eating, sleeping and merely endeavouring to get more comfortable. And that most of the key discoveries for humankind can be found in the very fabric of the houses in which we live.This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, wandering from room to room considering how the ordinary things in life came to be. Along the way he did a prodigious amount of research on the history of anything and everything, from architecture to electricity, from food preservation to epidemics, from the spice trade to the Eiffel Tower, from crinolines to toilets; and on the brilliant, creative and often eccentric minds behind them. And he discovered that, although there may seem to be nothing as unremarkable as our domestic lives, there is a huge amount of history, interest and excitement - and even a little danger - lurking in the corners of every home.
ABOUT THE BOOK In his introduction to A Short History of Nearly Everything, author Bill Bryson describes a childhood experience common to many of us: a brief infatuation with science, with all its potential and possibility. For Bryson, it was inspired by a textbook’s cut-away illustration of the interior strata of the Earth, with the molten core at the center. For myself, it was a children’s biography of Jacques Cousteau. Excited by the nearly endless prospects of science, the questions that could finally satisfy a child’s curiosity, we both reached for more books, and found our budding passions firmly squashed by an impenetrable wall of unfathomable writing. As Bryson writes in his introduction, “there seemed to be a mystifying universal conspiracy among textbook authors to make certain the material they dealt with never strayed too near the realm of the mildly interesting.” Bryson wrote A Short History of Nearly Everything as an antidote to the dry-as-dust science tomes that weigh down students’ backpacks. It is a layman’s love song to science, to its strange history and stranger characters. Published in 2003, it has been become a popular addition to the popular science genre. MEET THE AUTHOR Nicole Cipri is a restless wanderer and passionate writer. A graduate of the Evergreen State School in Olympia, WA, Nicole has since written about such varied topics as modern urban farming, the role of glitterbombing as political theater, and the economic impacts of natural disasters. You can follow her adventures on Twitter, @nicolecipri. EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK Drama abounded in the 19th century. After the discovery of the first dinosaur fossil in 1784, and with subsequent uncovering of massive bones that belonged to other extinct species, there was an uncomfortable public debate concerning extinctions. Why, after all, would an omniscient God create species of animals only to casually wipe them out? Throughout history, the sciences have routinely butted heads with the Church, a trend that continues today. From geology and paleontology, Bryson moves to chemistry. With its origins in the enigmatic studies of alchemy, chemistry evolved along its own strange path. Bryson tells one exemplifying story, in which an amateur alchemist became convinced the he could distill gold from human urine. “The similarity of color,” Bryson explains, “seems to have been a factor in his conclusion.” In an attempt to prove his hypothesis, the man collected fifty buckets of human urine, which he kept in his cellar. After a few months, the man noted, the substance in the buckets began to glow or explode into flames when exposed to air. He had failed in distilling gold from urine, but he had succeeded in creating phosphorous. Buy a copy to keep reading!
Bryson describes graphically and in layperson's terms the size of the universe and that of atoms and subatomic particles. He then explores the history of geology and biology and traces life from its first appearance to today's modern humans, placing emphasis on the development of the modern Homo sapiens. Furthermore, he discusses the possibility of the Earth being struck by a meteorite and reflects on human capabilities of spotting a meteor before it impacts the Earth, and the extensive damage that such an event would cause. He also describes some of the most recent destructive disasters of volcanic origin in the history of our planet, including Krakatoa and Yellowstone National Park.A large part of the book is devoted to relating humorous stories about the scientists behind the research and discoveries and their sometimes eccentric behaviours. Bryson also speaks about modern scientific views on human effects on the Earth's climate and livelihood of other species, and the magnitude of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and the mass extinctions caused by some of these events.The book contains several factual errors and inaccuracies. Some of these have arisen because new discoveries have been made since the book's publication, and some classifications have changed. For example, Pluto has been reclassified as a dwarf planet, and the universe is not going to stop expanding, it is speeding up.