Seeing Further: 350 Years of the Royal Society and Scientific Endeavour

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9780385667463: Seeing Further: 350 Years of the Royal Society and Scientific Endeavour

From the Royal Society, a peerless collection of all-new science writing

Bill Bryson, who explored all - or at least a great deal of - current scientific knowledge in A Short History of Nearly Everything, now turns his attention to the history of that knowledge. As editor of Seeing Further, he has rounded up an extraordinary roster of scientists who write and writers who know science in order to celebrate 350 years of the Royal Society, Britain's scientific national academy. The result is an encyclopedic survey of the history, philosophy and current state of science, written in an accessible and inspiring style by some of today's most important writers.

The contributors include Margaret Atwood, Steve Jones, Richard Dawkins, James Gleick, Richard Holmes, and Neal Stephenson, among many others, on subjects ranging from metaphysics to nuclear physics, from the threatened endtimes of flu and climate change to our evolving ideas about the nature of time itself, from the hidden mathematics that rule the universe to the cosmological principle that guides Star Trek.

The collection begins with a brilliant introduction from Bryson himself, who says: "It is impossible to list all the ways that the Royal Society has influenced the world, but you can get some idea by typing in 'Royal Society' as a word search in the electronic version of the Dictionary of National Biography. That produces 218 pages of results — 4,355 entries, nearly as many as for the Church of England (at 4,500) and considerably more than for the House of Commons (3,124) or House of Lords (2,503)."

As this book shows, the Royal Society not only produces the best scientists and science, it also produces and inspires the very best science writing.

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From the Back Cover:

Join Bill Bryson on an unforgettable exploration of scientific genius, discovery, and invention. Edited and introduced by Bryson, with original contributions from “a glittering array of scientific writing talent” (Sunday Observer), Seeing Further tells the spectacular story of modern science through the lens of the international Royal Society, founded on a damp November night in London in 1660. Isaac Newton, John Locke, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking—all have been fellows. Its members have split the atom, discovered the double helix and the electron, and given us the computer and the World Wide Web. Gorgeously illustrated with photographs, documents, and treasures from the Society’s exclusive archives, Seeing Further is an unprecedented celebration of the power of ideas.

Featuring contributions from more than twenty of the world’s greatest scientific—and science-fiction—thinkers, including:

Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene; The God Delusion), James Gleick (The Information), Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon), Richard Holmes (The Age of Wonder), Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Martin Rees (former President of the Royal Society).

About the Author:

BILL BRYSON is one of the best-selling and best-loved authors writing in English today. His books include A Walk in the Woods, Notes from a Small Island, In a Sunburned Country, Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors, and a memoir of childhood, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. His exploration of scientific knowledge, A Short History of Nearly Everything, earned him the 2004 Aventis Prize. Bryson lives in Britain with his wife and children. The Royal Society, the national academy of science of the UK and the Commonwealth, is at the cutting edge of scientific progress. It supports many leading young scientists, engineers and technologists, influences science policy, debates scientific issues with the public, and much more. It is an independent, charitable body which derives its authority from its over 1,400 Fellows and Foreign Members: distinguished the eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the United Kingdom, other Commonwealth countries and the Republic of Ireland.

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