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A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003)

de Bill Bryson

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

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19,985350137 (4.17)476
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.… (mais)
  1. 152
    Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies de Jared Diamond (Percevan)
  2. 72
    The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements de Sam Kean (amyblue)
  3. 31
    Maps of Time : An Introduction to Big History de David Christian (clamairy)
  4. 20
    Coming of Age in the Milky Way de Timothy Ferris (sturlington)
  5. 21
    Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe de Simon Singh (residue)
  6. 43
    Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed de Jared Diamond (Percevan)
  7. 54
    Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body de Neil Shubin (meggyweg)
  8. 00
    News from an Unknown Universe de Frank Schätzing (Dariah)
  9. 00
    Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens de Andrea Wulf (themulhern)
    themulhern: Both books stick to the science adventure, and go rather light on the actual science. "Chasing Venus" is about the decade long effort to calculate the value of the astronomical unit; Bryson's book is more shallow and broad.
  10. 11
    The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium de Robert Lacey (Usuário anônimo)
  11. 22
    Knowledge and Wonder de Victor F. Weisskopf (erik_galicki)
    erik_galicki: Weisskopf is more concise, more cohesive, and less anecdotal than Bryson. I consider Weisskopf a more enlightening but less entertaining alternate.
  12. 01
    Understanding China: Learning from China's Past, Present, and Future de Stefan Piech (ushsira)
  13. 12
    Almost Everyone's Guide to Science: The Universe, Life and Everything de John Gribbin (Noisy)
    Noisy: If you find Bryson too lightweight, then the next step is to Gribbin. Gribbin goes all the way from the smallest scale (sub-atomic particles) to the largest (the universe).
  14. 03
    I Love Paul Revere, Whether He Rode or Not de Richard Shenkman (John_Vaughan)
  15. 712
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Mostrando 1-5 de 349 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
A great expanded (or contracted, depending on your mileage) compilation of high school physics, chemistry and biology history and trivia. ( )
  Firons2 | Jan 31, 2021 |
Not much to add to the title. A modern classic. A good starter to natural history as it provides a good overview of essentially all aspects of it. From astrophysics, to geology, microbiology, virology, evolution and a more in-depth analysis of human development including anthropology, sociology and technological achievements. The subjects are all approached in a very pop-sci fashion and interleaved with stories of certain scientists and their contributions to their fields or stories of the author's encounter with national park rangers or members of a nomadic tribe. ( )
  hiwigiwi | Jan 12, 2021 |
I can count the number of science books I’ve read on one hand. Nevertheless, this one was absolutely wonderful! Bryson works to explain how we - aka, all that’s alive - went from nothing to where we are today. In other words he touches on everything from the Big Bang to DNA, from earthquakes to extinctions, from evolution to Einstein’s theory of relativity, giving history and science for all of life. In the best of ways he moves his readers toward wonder of life and humility at our precariousness that spills over into thankfulness and joy. It’s engaging, funny, informative, and even convicting. Highly recommended for all! ( )
  nrt43 | Dec 29, 2020 |
A rollicking history of the pursuit of the really important scientific questions by some very odd people over the course of many hundreds of years. Bryson writes well and humorously; he discusses the actual science in only the broadest and most general terms. For an actual discussion of the science in a history of science you need a scientist; an Asimov, a Weinberg, a Maor. Factually incorrect on occasion but still a lot of fun.

I think the discussion of human origins is rather dated, since so much progress has been made on the human genome since the book's publication.

It is somewhat interesting that Bryson isn't committed to the narrative of anthropogenic global warming, although he talks at length, and quite interestingly, about earth's changing climate. ( )
  themulhern | Dec 25, 2020 |
I am very happy a friend recommended this book to me and I can see how it came to be a top seller despite being a book about science. Don't get me wrong, I love science and technology but I am aware that too many people feel challenged, scared or alienated by it. That is sad since it is the curiosity, will to experiment and general want-to-know that has taken us out of caves, pain, hunger and 20-30 year lifespans into what we are today (mostly painless, mostly not in caves and mostly not hungry and mostly way past 25 years).

The book, in short, runs quickly through many areas of science, describing the history and the current state of affairs in an entertaining (and as far as I know, correct as of 2005) way. This included physics, geology, astronomy, chemistry, paleontology and some other disciplines I don't dare attempt to spell.

What strikes me is how much of our scientific advances has been luck, how many scientists that did not, and do not, receive the credit they deserve and in certain areas, how much we don't know. In the latter category we find such things as climate, the building stones of matter or energy, the exact origin of life or even of the modern human. It seems theories have changed over time up until recent days where many has stabilized somewhat. Either because research is slowing down (sad alternative) or because we don't yet have the benefit of hindsight (the alternative I hope for).

Another thing that strikes me is how much that has seemed to be individual breakthroughs were just about to happen. This can in some cases be seen in the fact that many people come with similar ideas across Europe (most of the research happened in Europe up until the last few decades) at about the same time. Many of Sir Isaac Newton's ideas for instance, were rediscovered by other scientists while Newton kept his writings secret for the world. That would indicate to me that as long as the scientific field is fertile, individuals might speed up research by leaps of mind, but most of the time not by as much as we think. For instance, I think most likely Einstein's theories would have appeared within a few decades even without Albert Einstein himself.

But back to the book. It is arranged in about 30 chapters that might well be read by themselves, or even in smaller parts, but where Bill Bryson excels is in connecting the dots. He takes a lot of fact and weaves an unbroken story from it so that you can easily find yourself in the same page-turner mode as in the best fiction.

I also liked that I could read some about our most notable Swedish scientists, knowing that many of them are overlooked internationally since their papers were either published too late, in the wrong language, or too far from the scientific centers of the age. A problem that existed, and probably still exist. If you are known and wrong, people listen to you. If you are unknown and right, being right is not always enough. Best case, someone later remembers you when the credits are distributed. Worst case, you die alone and bitter.

You can also find a tendency of very strong-minded scientists to disagree about details, totally missing the point that they mostly agree, or that one of them is way out of his area of expertise. Being smart and knowledgeable in one area doesn't make you good at everything else, as noticed in many examples throughout the book (which I personally connected to some people that still deny humanity's effect on the nature and our planet).

Anything I lack in the book? Maybe there could be a list of suggested books at the end for those that want to dive deeper into fields, though I think in the age of the Internet, that shouldn't be a big problem. Also, Pluto's state as a planet, something Bill Bryson discusses, ends up being wrong since the book is printed before Pluto's final demotion to "lumpy piece of ice in a belt full of lumpy pieces of ice", so there clearly need to be an updated edition! ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 349 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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.
adicionado por Jaism94 | editarBill 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.
 

» Adicionar outros autores (11 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Bryson, Billautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Goddijn, ServaasTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gower, NeilIlustradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Matthews, RichardNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Päkkilä, MarkkuTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Roberts, WilliamNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Vlek, RonaldTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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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.

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