|aA short history of nearly everything / |cBill Bryson.
|a1st trade pbk. ed.
|aNew York : |bBroadway Books, |c2004.
|aix, 544 p. ; |c24 cm.
|aIncludes bibliographical references (p. 517-527) and index.
|aLost in the cosmos: How to build a universe; Welcome to the solar system; Reverend Evans's universe|aSize of the earth: Measure of things; Stone-breakers; Science red in tooth and claw; Elemental matters|aNew age dawns: Einstein's universe; Mighty atom; Getting the lead out; Muster Mark's quarks; Earth moves|aDangerous planet: Bang!; Fire below; Dangerous beauty|aLife itself: Lonely planet; Into the troposphere; Bounding main; Rise of life; Small world; Life goes on; Good-bye to all that; Richness of being; Cells; Darwin's singular notion; The stuff of life|aRoad to us: Ice time; Mysterious biped; Restless ape; Good-bye.
|aIn 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.