A spirited volume on the great adventures of science throughout history, for curious readers of all ages
Science is fantastic. It tells us about the infinite reaches of space, the tiniest living organism, the human body, the history of Earth. People have always been doing science because they have always wanted to make sense of the world and harness its power. From ancient Greek philosophers through Einstein and Watson and Crick to the computer-assisted scientists of today, men and women have wondered, examined, experimented, calculated, and sometimes made discoveries so earthshaking that people understood the world-or themselves-in an entirely new way.
This inviting book tells a great adventure story: the history of science. It takes readers to the stars through the telescope, as the sun replaces the earth at the center of our universe. It delves beneath the surface of the planet, charts the evolution of chemistry's periodic table, introduces the physics that explain electricity, gravity, and the structure of atoms. It recounts the scientific quest that revealed the DNA molecule and opened unimagined new vistas for exploration.
Emphasizing surprising and personal stories of scientists both famous and unsung, A Little History of Science traces the march of science through the centuries. The book opens a window on the exciting and unpredictable nature of scientific activity and describes the uproar that may ensue when scientific findings challenge established ideas. With delightful illustrations and a warm, accessible style, this is a volume for young and old to treasure together.
"Yale's youngster-friendly Little History series continues with science from Babylonian astronomy to the Higgs boson particle in a series of lucid short chapters on telescopes, gases, engines, plantetary orbits, cells, magnetism, pneumatic chemistry, continental drift, and so forth . . . [Bynum] takes a sly pleasure in pointing out that famous scientists have been deeply religious, and shows a gentle, tolerant humour throughout."-Steven Poole, The Guardian
"Beginning with the Babylonians and ending with the World Wide Web, Bynum manages to squeeze in nearly every essential scientific idea and discovery while also discussing most major disciplines. . . . I happily confess I learned a lot."-Andrew Robinson, New Scientist
"This interesting book traces the history of science in easy-to-consume bites, from the earliest recorded anatomical, mathematical and medical theories through to the most up-to-date references to the Higgs boson and the latest hypothesis on string theory. They're all made readable for the inquisitive non-scientists among us." Good Reading.
"A Little History of Science is an entertaining read that will provide a good grounding in the subject for older children."-John Harding, Daily Mail
"The book is delightfully illustrated and is written in an engaging style. . . . It would make a great present for those turned off by double physics, or an entertaining read for the boffin."-The Good Book Guide
"Bynum's history of science is simple, lucid and accessible. There isn't a single difficult sentence. Reading it could foster an enthusiasm for scientific endeavour in a young reader. . . . There is an underlying theme in this gentle treatise: the need for scientists to persevere, to co-operate, to believe in the common good and to see further, in Isaac Newton's words, by 'standing on the shoulders of giants.'"-Tom Moriarty, Irish Times
William Bynum is professor emeritus, history of medicine, University College London. He is author or editor of numerous publications, including most recently Great Discoveries in Medicine. He lives in Suffolk, UK.