- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (November 8, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061999776
- ISBN-13: 978-0061999772
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 128 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society Reprint Edition
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“Bill Bryson is as amusing as ever . . . As a celebration of modern science, Seeing Further is a worthy tribute.” (The Economist)
“Traces the Royal Society’s unparalled contributions to science, celebrating not just the famous members like Isaac Newton but also the oddballs.” (Discover magazine (Hot Science))
“Bill Bryson exhibits a wealth of essays on the scientific discoveries and exploits of the Royal Society” (Vanity Fair)
“A treasure trove for lovers of science and history. These pages brim with revolutionary discoveries.” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune (A Best Book of the Year selection))
From the Back Cover
Join Bill Bryson on an unforgettable exploration of scientific genius, discovery, and invention. Edited and introduced by Bryson, with original contributions from “a glittering array of scientific writing talent” (Sunday Observer), Seeing Further tells the spectacular story of modern science through the lens of the international Royal Society, founded on a damp November night in London in 1660. Isaac Newton, John Locke, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking—all have been fellows. Its members have split the atom, discovered the double helix and the electron, and given us the computer and the World Wide Web. Gorgeously illustrated with photographs, documents, and treasures from the Society’s exclusive archives, Seeing Further is an unprecedented celebration of the power of ideas.
Featuring contributions from more than twenty of the world’s greatest scientific—and science-fiction—thinkers, including:
Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene; The God Delusion), James Gleick (The Information), Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon), Richard Holmes (The Age of Wonder), Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Martin Rees (former President of the Royal Society).
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Top customer reviews
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The intro is by Bryson, but not anything particularly witty.
But, I'd purchased the book, I like sciency stuff and was interested in learning more about the Royal Society, so I persevered.
And, ultimately, I'm glad I did. It's a nice updated on the current state of science in the world. There are discussions of String Theory as well as updates on evolution concepts. There are interesting discussions of dead scientists as well as living ones. All the various vignettes are written by scientists and/or science writers, therefore the quality of the various stories vary depending upon whether the writer is more writer or more scientist.
All in all it's a worthwhile science book. But it isn't a Bryson book by any means.
He supposedly "edited" the book. Well, if he did, he's a much better writer than editor. The book is a collection of essays, each having something to do with the Royal Society. Some of them are pretty well done - Petroski and Davies for example. Others are - to choose a word - turgid. I have skipped to the next essay more than half the time,
If you are really interested in some interesting sidelights on the early days of the Royal Society, by all means read this book. If you are only looking at it because you are a Brysophile - a lover of Bryson's writing, as I am - you will be disappointed.
Bill Bryson is the perfect person to have headed this project. As a general science writer Bryson is aware of how important science and the Royal Society has been to the development of modern society. Then there is the rather eclectic group of contributors that have each offered a discussion on the development of science. Authors include James Gleick, Margaret Atwood, Margaret Wertheim, Neal Stephenson, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Simon Schaffer, Richard Holmes, Richard Fortey, Richard Dawkins, Henry Petroski, Georgiana Ferry, Steve Jones, Philip Ball, Paul Davies, Ian Stewart, John D. Barrow, Oliver Morton, Maggie Gee, Stephen H. Schneider, Gregory Benford, and Martin Rees. I'd have to admit that Margaret Atwoods discussion of Jonathan Swift's Academy, and Richard Dawkins' Darwin's Five Bridges: The Way to Natural Selection is for me the highlight of the book. However, each and every chapter is eye opening and worthy of your time.
It is a difficult fact to get your head around that when the Royal Society was established in 1660 we knew so little of the causes of the physical phenomenon of our planet. Whether the topic was the causes of the tides or why summer was warmer than winter, mystery tended to shroud almost everything. The Royal Society created the scientific method thus allowing discoveries to be measured and duplicated and encouraged good scientific exploration. "Good" in this case is relative, meaning that it was better than what preceded it. "Good" by today's standard still left much to be desired.
Seeing Further is written for the general public and even the most "unscientific" of us will have no problem making sense of what is read.
Well written and containing a section devoted to further reading, Seeing Further is a fun and inspiring read.
I give it five stars after reading the whole book.
Peace to all.
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Duane G Mayhew