Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society

Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society

by Bill Bryson


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“Bryson is as amusing as ever….As a celebration of 350 years of modern science, [Seeing Further] it is a worthy tribute.”
The Economist

In Seeing Further, New York Times bestseller Bill Bryson takes readers on a guided tour through the great discoveries, feuds, and personalities of modern science. Already a major bestseller in the UK, Seeing Further tells the fascinating story of science and the Royal Society with Bill Bryson’s trademark wit and intelligence, and contributions from a host of well known scientists and science fiction writers, including Richard Dawkins, Neal Stephenson, James Gleick, and Margret Atwood. It is a delightful literary treat from the acclaimed author who previous explored the current state of scientific knowledge in his phenomenally popular book, A Short History of Nearly Everything.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061999772
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/08/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 213,680
Product dimensions: 6.78(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.12(d)

About the Author

Bill Bryson's bestselling books include One Summer, A Short History of Nearly Everything, At Home, A Walk in the Woods, Neither Here nor There, Made in America, and The Mother Tongue. He lives in England with his wife.


Hanover, New Hampshire

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Des Moines, Iowa


B.A., Drake University, 1977

Table of Contents

Introduction & Acknowledgments Bill Bryson 1

1 At The Beginning: More Things In Heaven And Earth James Gleick 17

2 Of The Madness Oe Mad Scientists: Jonathan Swift's Grand Academy Margaret Atwood 37

3 Lost In Space: The Spiritual Crisis Oe Newtonian Cosmology Margaret Wertheim 59

4 Atoms Of Cognition: Metaphysics In The Royal Society. 1715-2010 Neal Stephenson 83

5 What's In A Name? Rivalries And The Birth Op Modern Science Rebecca Newberger Goldstein 107

6 Charged Atmospheres: Promethean Science And The Royal Society Simon Schaffer 131

7 A New Age Of Elight: Joseph Banks Goes Ballooning Richard Holmes 157

8 Archives Oe Life: Science And Collections Richard Fortey 183

9 Darwin's Live Bridges: The Way To Natural Selection Richard Dawkins 203

10 Images Of Progress: Conferences Oe Engineers Henry Petroski 229

11 X-Rayvisions: Structural. Biologists And Social Action In The Twentieth Century Georgina Ferry 251

12 Ten Thousand Wedges: Biodiversity. Naturae Selection And Random Change Steve Jones 273

13 Making Stuff: From Bacon To Rakelite Philip Ball 295

14 Just Typical: Our Changing Place In The Universe Paul Davies 321

15 Behind The Scenes: The Hidden Mathematics That Rules Our World Ian Stewart 341

16 Simple, Really- From Simplicity To Complexity - And Back Again John D. Barrow 361

17 Globe And Sphere. Cycles And Plows: How To See The World Oliver Morton 385

18 Beyond Ending: Looking Into The Void Maggie Gee 405

19 Confidence. Consensus And The Uncertainty Cops: Tackling Risk Management In Climate Change Stephen H. Schneider 425

20 Time: The Winged Chariot Gregory Benford 445

Conclusion: Looking Fifty Years Ahead Martin Rees 467

Further Reading 486

List Of Illustrations 490

Index 491

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Seeing Further 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
dm59 More than 1 year ago
This book is not authored by Bill Bryson but rather is edited by Bill Bryson. Each chapter is a separate author, 20 or so in all. So far I have just skimmed a few chapters and have not yet found it captivating as I was hoping and expecting but there is still plenty more to explore. I expect that each chapter will be somewhat unique with perhaps little gems in store but not a Bill Bryson book.
SwitchKnitter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seeing Further wanders all over science as we know it, with everything eventually tying back into the Royal Society. Margaret Atwood wrote a piece on the view of scientists in pop culture, tracing back to the satirizing of the Royal Society in Gulliver's Travels. There are essays on Darwin, crystallography, space-time, and climate change, among others. It was an enjoyable read, and it really gave me a broad appreciation for what the Royal Society does and influences.
reannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Collection of essays about science celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society. Authors include scientists, science and science fiction authors. Topics span all sciences and technology, and from the easily accessible to the difficult.
stuartechambers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have to say that whilst I love Bill Bryson, I really didn't like this book at all & that's sad as i was so looking forward to read it. I would like to put two thousand scientists in a room and ask those who believe in God to put their hands up and then ask those who do why they relentlessly pursue this seemingly personal mission of theirs to disprove Gods existence. Not a book for me !!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anybody interested in the history of science will enjoy this book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bought for my son in law...He began reading it immediately.