Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society


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But out of untidy discovery, wonders emerged. The universe was an ever-open book, said Galileo, "but it cannot be understood unless you have first learned to understand the language and recognise the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics. Bryson's contributors celebrate aeronautics and evolution; suspension bridges and systematic biology; X-ray crystallography and lightning conductors; Bayesian distribution and Bakelite; climate science and complexity theory.

This is a book of cerebral riches, heavy with history, to be consumed at leisure. It is also beautifully illustrated.

Seeing Further: the Story of Science and the Royal Society: review

All but one of its 22 contributors wrote specially for this anthology. Richard Holmes, fresh from his scientific history The Age of Wonder , provides new material on 18th-century balloon flights. Richard Dawkins sums up the significance of Darwin's achievement with renewed metaphorical force. The Natural History Museum palaeontologist Richard Fortey highlights the importance of collections; Steve Jones raises some of the puzzles of biodiversity; the physicist and science fiction author Gregory Benford contemplates the enigma of time.

Every now and then, the book begins to seem like a royal variety performance: well-known acts trip on to the stage, perform a much-loved routine and disappear, to be followed by something completely different yet equally familiar. But all contributors in their different ways also remind us that the show goes on. Do we see more clearly than Hooke and Newton did three and a half centuries ago? Oliver Morton argues that we may have traded one picture of the Earth for another, but our understanding of the globe remains incomplete; Ian Stewart reminds us that for all Galileo's astuteness, even scientists can be oblivious to the subtle mathematics that underpin their research; John Barrow considers the apparent simplicity of cosmological physics and points out that we do not observe the laws of nature, we see only the outcomes of those laws.


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The physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies reminds us that even the keystone of the Copernican revolution — the assumption that there is nothing special about us — might be incompletely laid. Is the solar system typical? Perhaps, but supporting evidence began to emerge only 15 years ago, and carbon-based life exists on Earth but, as far as we know, nowhere else. Is there anything typical about our position in spacetime? Davies has his doubts: carbon, manufactured by burning stars, was not possible for the first five billion years, and may not be possible billion years from now, although the universe could drag on, getting ever colder and darker, for another 10 billion billion empty years.

Gregory Benford makes the same point: "We seem to occupy an unusual niche in the long history of this universe.

Seeing Further The Story of Science and the Royal Society

The astronomer Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, who in a book warned that we might already have begun Our Final Century , is sure that many mysteries remain. Topics Books. Science and nature books Bill Bryson Royal Society reviews. Reuse this content. Most popular.

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    Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society by Bill Bryson - - Dymocks

    Seeing Further 3. Each chapter is a separate author, 20 or so in all. So far I have just skimmed a few chapters and have not yet found it captivating as I was hoping and expecting but there is still plenty more to explore.

    I expect that each chapter will be somewhat unique with perhaps little gems in store but not a Bill Bryson book. SwitchKnitter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago Seeing Further wanders all over science as we know it, with everything eventually tying back into the Royal Society.

    Science writer

    Margaret Atwood wrote a piece on the view of scientists in pop culture, tracing back to the satirizing of the Royal Society in Gulliver's Travels. There are essays on Darwin, crystallography, space-time, and climate change, among others. It was an enjoyable read, and it really gave me a broad appreciation for what the Royal Society does and influences. Authors include scientists, science and science fiction authors. Topics span all sciences and technology, and from the easily accessible to the difficult.

    I would like to put two thousand scientists in a room and ask those who believe in God to put their hands up and then ask those who do why they relentlessly pursue this seemingly personal mission of theirs to disprove Gods existence. Not a book for me!! Anonymous More than 1 year ago. Anonymous More than 1 year ago Anybody interested in the history of science will enjoy this book.

    Anonymous More than 1 year ago Bought for my son in law He began reading it immediately. Related Searches. Originally published in London A comprehensive study of the biology and genetics involved in A comprehensive study of the biology and genetics involved in all aspects of stock breeding whether it be fowl, sheep, pig, dog, horses, and cattle. The contents are well illustrated.

    Download Seeing Further The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society PDF

    Many of the earliest books, View Product. Variably genial, cautionary, lyrical, admonitory, terrifying, horrifying and inspiring…A lifetime of thought, travel, reading, imagination Variably genial, cautionary, lyrical, admonitory, terrifying, horrifying and inspiring…A lifetime of thought, travel, reading, imagination and memory inform this affecting account.

    Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society

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