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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“Bill Bryson is as amusing as ever. ... As a celebration of 350 years of modern science, Seeing Further is a worthy tribute.” —The Economist

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) including Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, and Neal Stephenson, 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 GeneThe 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).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061999772
Publisher: HarperCollins US
Publication date: 11/08/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 158,775
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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