One of the world’s most beloved writers and bestselling author of One Summer takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer. In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail—well, most of it. In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.
Bill's own fascination with science began with a battered old schoolbook he had when he was about ten or eleven years old in America. It had an illustration that captivated him - a cutaway diagram showing Earth's interior as it would look if you cut into it with a large knife and carefully removed about a quarter of its bulk. And he very clearly remembers thinking: "How do they know that?" Bill's story-telling skill makes the "How?" and, just as importantly, the "Who?" of scientific discovery entertaining and accessible for all ages. In this exciting edition for younger readers, he covers the wonder and mysteries of time and space, the frequently bizarre and often obsessive scientists and the methods they used, the crackpot theories which held sway for far too long, the extraordinary accidental discoveries which suddenly advanced whole areas of science when the people were actually looking for something else (or in the wrong direction) and the mind-boggling fact that, somehow, the universe exists and, against all odds, life came to be on this wondrous planet we call home.
Now revised and updated to take in the major scientific developments of the past decade, A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's classic quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. Winner of the Aventis Prize for Science Books and the Descartes Science Communcation Prize, it became a huge bestseller, and remains one of the most popular science books of all time. Bill Bryson's challenge was to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there wasn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. On his travels through time and space, he encounters a splendid collection of astonishingly eccentric, competitive, obsessive and foolish scientists, and takes us on an eye-opening journey through time and space, revealing the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
One of the world's most beloved and bestselling writers takes his ultimate journey -- into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer. In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail -- well, most of it. In In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand -- and, if possible, answer -- the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world's most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining. From the Hardcover edition.
Bryson describes graphically and in layperson's terms the size of the universe and that of atoms and subatomic particles. He then explores the history of geology and biology and traces life from its first appearance to today's modern humans, placing emphasis on the development of the modern Homo sapiens. Furthermore, he discusses the possibility of the Earth being struck by a meteorite and reflects on human capabilities of spotting a meteor before it impacts the Earth, and the extensive damage that such an event would cause. He also describes some of the most recent destructive disasters of volcanic origin in the history of our planet, including Krakatoa and Yellowstone National Park.A large part of the book is devoted to relating humorous stories about the scientists behind the research and discoveries and their sometimes eccentric behaviours. Bryson also speaks about modern scientific views on human effects on the Earth's climate and livelihood of other species, and the magnitude of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and the mass extinctions caused by some of these events.The book contains several factual errors and inaccuracies. Some of these have arisen because new discoveries have been made since the book's publication, and some classifications have changed. For example, Pluto has been reclassified as a dwarf planet, and the universe is not going to stop expanding, it is speeding up.
The book on the paranormal, endorsed by consciousness experts as the best introduction to psychic phenomena, offering the latest scientific research as well as highly compelling anecdotes. "Superb survey of the paranormal ... Although serious in content, it is written in a light, often humorous, style which is a delight to read. As someone who has myself made a lifelong study of the paranormal, I cannot recommend it highly enough." – New York Times bestselling author Herbie Brennan This is the most entertaining and broad survey of the paranormal ever made, combining forgotten lore, evidence from parapsychological experiments and the testament of scientists, archaeologists, anthropologists, psychologists, physicists and philosophers, and also quite a few celebrities. Exploring the possibility that paranormal phenomena may be – and that some most likely are – objectively real, this travelogue through the twilight zone of human consciousness is both scientifically rigorous and extremely entertaining. Readers may be surprised to learn that reputable scientists, among them several Nobel laureates, have claimed that telepathy is a reality, that Cleopatra's lost palace and Richard III's burial place were recovered by means of clairvoyance, and that an espionage program using psychics was set up by the US military! The author proposes that all humans (perhaps all living beings) are linked together in a sort of "mental internet" that allows us to exchange "telepathic emails" and make clairvoyant downloads of information. Could it be that what we usually call "supernatural" is a natural but little understood communication via this mental internet? An engaging, entertaining and informative analysis of a controversial subject, in which these phenomena are approached as potential expressions of unexplained powers of the human mind.
God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake a gruelling hike along the world's longest continuous footpath—The Appalachian Trail. The 2,000-plus-mile trail winds through 14 states, stretching along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine. It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in North America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas. With his offbeat sensibility, his eye for the absurd, and his laugh-out-loud sense of humour, Bryson recounts his confrontations with nature at its most uncompromising over his five-month journey. An instant classic, riotously funny, A Walk in the Woods will add a whole new audience to the legions of Bill Bryson fans.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 BY Maclean's • The Washington Post • USA Today • Indigo Bill Bryson, bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body. As compulsively readable as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner's manual for everybody. Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body--how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you, in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, "we pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted." The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.
The instant New York Times bestseller about humanity's place in the universe—and how we understand it. “Vivid...impressive....Splendidly informative.”—The New York Times “Succeeds spectacularly.”—Science “A tour de force.”—Salon Already internationally acclaimed for his elegant, lucid writing on the most challenging notions in modern physics, Sean Carroll is emerging as one of the greatest humanist thinkers of his generation as he brings his extraordinary intellect to bear not only on Higgs bosons and extra dimensions but now also on our deepest personal questions: Where are we? Who are we? Are our emotions, our beliefs, and our hopes and dreams ultimately meaningless out there in the void? Do human purpose and meaning fit into a scientific worldview? In short chapters filled with intriguing historical anecdotes, personal asides, and rigorous exposition, readers learn the difference between how the world works at the quantum level, the cosmic level, and the human level—and then how each connects to the other. Carroll's presentation of the principles that have guided the scientific revolution from Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness, and the universe is dazzlingly unique. Carroll shows how an avalanche of discoveries in the past few hundred years has changed our world and what really matters to us. Our lives are dwarfed like never before by the immensity of space and time, but they are redeemed by our capacity to comprehend it and give it meaning. The Big Picture is an unprecedented scientific worldview, a tour de force that will sit on shelves alongside the works of Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Daniel Dennett, and E. O. Wilson for years to come.
This New York Times bestseller "elegantly weaves evidence and insights . . . into a single, accessible historical narrative" (Bill Gates) and presents a captivating history of the universe -- from the Big Bang to dinosaurs to mass globalization and beyond. Most historians study the smallest slivers of time, emphasizing specific dates, individuals, and documents. But what would it look like to study the whole of history, from the big bang through the present day -- and even into the remote future? How would looking at the full span of time change the way we perceive the universe, the earth, and our very existence? These were the questions David Christian set out to answer when he created the field of "Big History," the most exciting new approach to understanding where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. In Origin Story, Christian takes readers on a wild ride through the entire 13.8 billion years we've come to know as "history." By focusing on defining events (thresholds), major trends, and profound questions about our origins, Christian exposes the hidden threads that tie everything together -- from the creation of the planet to the advent of agriculture, nuclear war, and beyond. With stunning insights into the origin of the universe, the beginning of life, the emergence of humans, and what the future might bring, Origin Story boldly reframes our place in the cosmos.