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← Seeing Further: The Story of Science & the Royal Society, edited by Bill Bryson

Seeing Further: The Story of Science & the Royal Society, edited by Bill Bryson - Comments

GodsDontExist's Avatar Comment 1 by GodsDontExist

Wow! That looks like an amazing book!

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 15:04:00 UTC | #430448

weavehole's Avatar Comment 2 by weavehole

There was no known way to measure the height of a mountain.

The world must have been a dark place indeed without Trigonometry.

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 15:24:00 UTC | #430451

Iain Mott's Avatar Comment 3 by Iain Mott

I saw this book in Waterstones the other day and it looks very good. I didn't part with my cash however as I've got too much to read as it is, but does anybody know if by buying this by using the Amazon buttons provided whether or not this benefits RDF or not?

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 16:35:00 UTC | #430462

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 4 by Richard Dawkins

I saw this book in Waterstones the other day and it looks very good. I didn't part with my cash however as I've got too much to read as it is, but does anybody know if by buying this by using the Amazon buttons provided whether or not this benefits RDF or not?
Yes it does. A tithe of Amazon's money goes automatically to RDFRS's Paypal account whenever you go to Amazon by clicking a button on this site.
Richard

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 16:49:00 UTC | #430464

RobiFerentz's Avatar Comment 5 by RobiFerentz

I love Bill Bryson's books!
The Mother Tongue is a work of pure genius and A Short History of Nearly Everything was superb. I've still got a few more of his to read, but I guess I should add this latest one as well.

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 17:05:00 UTC | #430468

Paul42's Avatar Comment 6 by Paul42

Bill Bryson is one of my favourite writers.

If this is even close to "A Short History of Nearly Everything" I'll be very happy...

It's on the list...

(And thank you for pointing that out, Richard. I am sure I'm not the only one who didn't know...)

I'll make a point of buying via the site wherever possible from now on.

Love.

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 17:06:00 UTC | #430469

Stevezar's Avatar Comment 7 by Stevezar

I didn't know it benefits RDF, I am going to order it through here.

"A Short History of Nearly Everything" was fantastic, I am on a second reading of it.

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 17:13:00 UTC | #430471

bluebird's Avatar Comment 8 by bluebird

A nice 5 min. audio slideshow per the 350th anniv. of the Royal Society:

http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8381425.stm

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 17:17:00 UTC | #430472

IainM's Avatar Comment 9 by IainM

Having just finished TGSOE I'm utterly convinced that a more absorbing and fascinating read is just not possible. However, one has to continue reading, so I'll give Bill Bryson a try (via this site, of course!) His "Short History" was very good, but I didn't think much of "Thunderbolt Kid"

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 17:36:00 UTC | #430473

perkyjay's Avatar Comment 10 by perkyjay

Bill Bryson is the Chancellor of Durham University, my "alma mater", and I have often wondered how someone with Bryson's worldview fares in the most god-bothering university in England . It is 60 years since I was there, so perhaps there has been some sort of secularization taking place in the intervening years. Hope so ! Bill Bryson was one of my favourite writers long before he got the job in Durham and one of the very few writers who make me
laugh out loud whilst reading his books.

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 18:11:00 UTC | #430481

JoeT's Avatar Comment 11 by JoeT

Oh I like Thunderbold Kid, but my favorite is Neither here nor There (maybe because I'm American).

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 18:32:00 UTC | #430486

Corylus's Avatar Comment 12 by Corylus

Comment #449295 by Paul42:

I'll make a point of buying via the site wherever possible from now on.
That's why I always put in an amazon link when recommending books in the comments. I don't know whether this also gets logged (or whether it is just set site buttons that raise the money), but I figured it was worth a try.

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 18:52:00 UTC | #430491

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 13 by Cartomancer

I do hope the book is not silent on the pre-1660 origins of the Royal Society - when it was still Warden John Wilkins's scientific club, based in his lodgings at Wadham College, Oxford from 1648. Given that Wadham celebrates its quadricentennial anniversary this year that would be most remiss indeed.

Some might say that I am biased by institutional loyalties in making this observation, being an inveterate Wadhamite myself. They would, of course, be right.

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 19:03:00 UTC | #430494

epeeist's Avatar Comment 14 by epeeist

Comment #449322 by Cartomancer:

Some might say that I am biased by institutional loyalties in making this observation, being an inveterate Wadhamite myself. They would, of course, be right.
Ah, this would be the Wadham equivalent of Lord Peter Wimsey's "overweening Balliolity".

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 19:24:00 UTC | #430502

bachfiend's Avatar Comment 15 by bachfiend

Blast it. Another book to buy when it comes out as a Kindle.

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 20:23:00 UTC | #430525

Thomas Byrne's Avatar Comment 16 by Thomas Byrne

I've been meaning to read his book "A Short History of Everything" for quite some time and now he has another one out. Dammit. I'd better hurry up.

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 22:26:00 UTC | #430560

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 17 by Cartomancer

"overweening Balliolity"
That sort of thing, yes. Though I'm not entirely sure that Balliolity can be anything but overweening these days, if the sample I've seen is representative.

Still, it's not as bad as Magdalenism - an incurable disease which turns you from a relatively normal human being into a pretentious tosser of the highest order. Christ Church Syndrome is broadly similar.

These are not to be confused with St. John's Warts however, which is transmitted in an entirely different fashion and now thankfully curable with a course of strong antibiotic creams.

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 23:12:00 UTC | #430573

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 18 by Laurie Fraser

For those interested, I'd recommend the Gribbins' History of Science from 1543 It deals, inter alia, with the establishment and progression of the Royal Society.

Sat, 09 Jan 2010 23:32:00 UTC | #430580

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 19 by Reckless Monkey

I loaned "A Short History of Almost Everything" to a student they gave it to another and after forgetting about it that student gave it back. So I've pasted it onto another I'm making a tradition of it until the book is destroyed or doesn't come back. Nice synopsis of not only general science but also the scientists very funny in parts.

Sun, 10 Jan 2010 04:57:00 UTC | #430637

Kiwi's Avatar Comment 20 by Kiwi

Richard said:

Yes it does. A tithe of Amazon's money goes automatically to RDFRS's Paypal account whenever you go to Amazon by clicking a button on this site.
Richard


Does the click and visit to Amazon have to result in a purchase for the payment to happen ?

Sun, 10 Jan 2010 22:51:00 UTC | #430803

Anvil's Avatar Comment 21 by Anvil

Anything by Bryson I would highly recommend.

'Mother Tongue' is an all time fave of mine, and 'A Short History...' holds the title of 'Most Favoured Loo Book' - I know this as it's the book most often found in the hands of people returning from my upstairs loo, usually with the accompanying phrase " Hey, Anvil, Did you know that... blah blah blah!"

A couple more to buy in the January sales:

'Science: A History' by John Gribbin (same book, Laurie, I presume?) Absolutely brilliant. A real page turner.

For those of a more romantic disposition interested in Keats, Shelley, Byron, Coleridge et al, then try:

Richard Holmes: 'The Age of Wonder - How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty & Terror of Science'

I'm halfway through it and can't put it down. Packed with information and hitherto peripheral characters I'd known little about. For example Caroline Herschel - sister of the great man and although an accomplished astronomer (and Comet Hunter) in her own right, often relegated to mere footnotes in other books on my shelf - is here dealt with in depth in this interesting and inspiring book. One word of warning: The poems of Humphrey Davy are shite!

A nice addition to the 'Loo Library' this winter has been:

'Darwins Notebook - The Life, Times and Discoveries of Charles Robert Darwin' - Written and Compiled by Jonathan Clements.

Great for dipping in and out of.

If I may, my first time back on this site after the excesses of the holiday workload and the subsequent and fortunate pleasures of spending all to brief a time with Dolphins, giant Sea Turtles, and Dugongs. My reading material for the trip was an account of Banks' voyage on the Endeavour. My spine, believe me, is still tingling. I've been re-reading Voyages since my return. I can but only imagine what a Banks or a Darwin felt on their great and fantastic voyages of discovery, but my own journey into some semblance of scientific literacy, paltry and insignificant as it may be in comparison, has been eased and oiled so wonderfully well, not merely by the above scientists and authors, but by, and in no small part, the fine contributors of this site, [pulls hanky from pocket] so, if I may, a Happy, albeit belated, New Year to you all, you were missed, one and all. It's nice to be back.

x

Anvil.

Mon, 11 Jan 2010 12:30:00 UTC | #430890

Rodger T's Avatar Comment 22 by Rodger T

Bloody hell,my visa card can`t take much more of this.

Wed, 13 Jan 2010 04:55:00 UTC | #431455