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A Little History of Science [Paperback]

William Bynum
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Aug 2013
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 & 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 centre 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.

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A Little History of Science + A Little History of the World + A Little History of Philosophy
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Reprint edition (2 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300197136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300197136
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.9 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"'This freshest entry in Yale's youngster-friendly Little History series covers science from Babylonian astronomy to the Human Genome Project and the Higgs Boson, in a series of lucid short chapters' (Steven Poole, The Guardian) 'This is a thoughtful, elegantly presented volume with the younger reader in mind, although it's an inspiring reminder to anyone of our extraordinary journey from ignorance to knowledge.' (Dallas Campbell, BBC Focus) '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)"

About the Author

William Bynum is Emeritus Professor of the History of Medicine, UCL, and specializes in the history of malaria and the impact of evolutionary ideas on medicine. Among his publications are A Dictionary of the History of Science (1981), Science and the Practice of Medicine in the Nineteenth Century (1994), The Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (2005) and Dictionary of Medical Biography (5 vols., 2007). His research also closely covers Darwin.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
The 256 pages and 40 chapters of this book are written by an expert in the history of Medicine and it shows with a decided bias and more expert opinion on the biological and chemical parts than the physics engineering and maths.
Every aspect and age of science is included from Babylon to Silicon Valley with wonderfully short concise chapters of about 6 pages each. Hows that for our modern short-attention span teens? All relevant facts are there with many more I didn't know about, including the 'forgotten scientists' and also-rans who didn't make it into mainstream history but were equally valuable as the superstars of science. Many amusing anecdotes of the scientists are included as an interest-grabber. A few mistakes in one chapter (relativity) seem to indicate that this chapter either wasn't checked by someone in the know or simply not checked at all (I think it's the latter). Although not explicitly stated it implies that the precession of the perihelion of Mercury, as predicted by Einsteins theory, was actually Mars! No photos or pictures (a kids' book without pictures!!??), but a genuine bargain for the hardcover at about £12. If it doesn't kick off a few careers in Science I'll be surprised. Geoff .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction To The History of Science 31 Aug 2013
By ACB (swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The intention of this book's author is to look at science as a human endeavour to understand the world by taking a time journey through it's history of great thinkers, adept experimenters and people of expansive curiosity. The author does this using scientific advances starting with the age of Babylon and Egypt through to the digital age of modern computerisation enabling scientists to tackle questions as diverse as human genetics to global warming. Within these extremes of time, Professor Bynum uses each of the 40 short chapters, (totalling 256 pages), to deal with a different topic or major figure presenting the facts along with interesting anecdotes or details about their life or work, often quirky and humorous. The impact of developments from one age onto the next is clear along with challenges to the works and beliefs accompanying them.

Most of the major figures of influence are here including the Emperor's doctor Galen, Galileo and astronomy, Harvey and the circulation of blood, the theories and works of Newton, Darwin and Einstein. Topics include engines and energy, atomic physics and the computer age. All are written in a lucid and understandable way. This is not a science textbook. It is, as the title says 'a little history of science'. This should provide a grounding in the subject aimed more for the younger reader and hopefully will stimulate further inquiry. It may also appeal to adults who may find it's content sufficiently interesting without feeling it condescending or lacking sophistication. An entertaining introductory read into the history of science and medicine.
(HARDCOVER not Kindle version).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for youngsters and adults alike 31 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This review is for the Kindle edition. A most informative and interesting book, suitable for children and adults too, in that it's not at all condescending to the younger reader. It covers a wide range of topics and is a marvellous read for the inquiring child. Only one caveat though, is that it would benefit from more illustration, not to divert attention from the text but to enhance it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little History of Science 16 July 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I chose this book for my teenage son aged 14 and he (normally not an avid reader) loves it. A concise very readable summary of key moments in the history of science up to most recent times!
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0 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I gave it to my grandson. It was well received by his parents, but I can tell you no more than that.
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