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Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society

Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society [Kindle Edition]

Bill Bryson
3.8 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (4 Kundenrezensionen)

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

“Traces the Royal Society’s unparalled contributions to science, celebrating not just the famous members like Isaac Newton but also the oddballs.” (Discover magazine (Hot Science))

“Bill Bryson exhibits a wealth of essays on the scientific discoveries and exploits of the Royal Society” (Vanity Fair)

“A treasure trove for lovers of science and history. These pages brim with revolutionary discoveries.” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune (A Best Book of the Year selection))


'Provocative, admirable and highly readable, Sunday Times 'This is a book with cerebral riches, heavy with history, to be consumed at is also beautifully illustrated, Guardian 'This book makes abundantly clear what was best about the society 350 years ago, and remains so today, is an unshakeable commitment to the value of rational inquiry and evidence as the basis for good decision making...lavishly illustrated, it manages to strike just the right note between celebration and provocation, Financial Times 'Beautifully produced and sumptuously illustrated book...gem-like contributions, from a heady mix of FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society)...a fitting memorial to the Royal Society and all it stands for...this beautiful book showcases distinguished scientists making difficult concepts exciting and accessible, and eloquent narrators diverting us with page-turning tales, all in their own distinct ways, Independent on Sunday 'This weighty tome, celebrating 350 years of the Royal Society, is a must read for any lay scientist, but it is also accessible for curious non scientists... in a vivid introduction, Bill Bryson highlights some of the many interdisciplinary discoveries made by notables such as Isacc Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Lister and Isambard Kingdom Brunel... a pleasingly thematic appraisal of this centuries-old institution brought to you by 20 esteemed writers... lets look forward to another 350 years of groundbreaking discovery, Time Out ',Seeing Further, is a handsome book - it is beautifully illustrated - containing thoughtful insights, eloquently a celebration of 350 years of modern science, it is a worthy tribute, Economist


Mehr über den Autor

Der US-Amerikaner Bill Bryson wurde 1951 in Des Moines, Iowa, geboren. Als Rucksacktourist lernte er 1973 in England seine zukünftige Frau kennen und entschied sich zu bleiben. Zunächst schrieb er für die englischen Zeitungen "The Times" und "The Independent" und besserte mit Reiseberichten sein Einkommen auf. Mit einem Buch über die englische Insel, "Reif für die Insel", gelang Bryson 2003 der Durchbruch. Seither verfasste er viel beachtete Reiseliteratur, u. a. über eine Fahrt mit dem Chevy seiner Mutter durch amerikanische Kleinstädte, Reisen in Europa, Afrika oder Australien bis hin zu "The Road Less Travelled" mit 1.000 alternativen Reiseempfehlungen fernab ausgetretener Touristenpfade. Von North Yorkshire zog Bryson 1995 mit seiner Frau und den vier Kindern in die USA nach New Hampshire, bis die Familie 2003 nach England zurückkehrte.


3.8 von 5 Sternen
3.8 von 5 Sternen
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Format:Kindle Edition
Eine interessante Sammlung von Artikeln und Essays zum Thema Wissenschaftsgeschichte und Royal Society. Die behandelten Einzelaspekte sind so unterschiedlich wie die einzelnen Autoren und ihre Präsentationsweise. Insgesamt ein faszinierender Blick auf das Thema, allerdings leitet die Markierung von Bill Bryson als Autor den Käufer etwas in die Irre. Der typische Bill Bryson Humor fehlt nämlich - außer in seiner Einleitung. Einige Texte sind auch um einiges anspruchsvoller geschrieben, als man es von Bryson-Büchern vermuten würde.
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Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Great to read with many writers in different styles - but all very intellectual - and still good to read. Smiles, Knowledge and deeper thoughts are the essence of this book.
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1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen 350 Jahre Royal Society 8. September 2010
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
und ein hervorragendes Buch als Geburtstagsgeschenk. In zahlreichen Kapiteln wird die Geschichte der RS von den Anfängen bis ins 21. Jahrhundert beleuchtet. Die Kapitel sind von verschiedenen erprobten (und guten!) Wissenschaftsjournalisten geschrieben worden, das Papier ist hervorragend und das Buch ist einfach gut gemacht!
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0 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Traces of damage 6. Dezember 2012
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
The price was attractive but the books were supposed to be new (I ordered 2) and I meant them to be presents, but it didn't work as as although they were generally knew they had traces of not necessarily 'use' but certainly some damage ( black marker stains and indented hard cover.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.2 von 5 Sternen  74 Rezensionen
96 von 99 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A great read for the person with general knowledge about science. 9. November 2010
Von Robert Busko - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery & the Genius of the Royal Society with Bill Bryson as the editor is a marvelous book. I have read thousands of times that the pace of science and innovation causes knowledge to double and replace itself at an alarmingly fast rate. Of course, it's not in the actual doubling of knowledge that a problem exists but in the fact that it is virtually impossible for us to keep track of that very same new knowledge. However, even in a world that is creating so much new knowledge it is reassuring to consider that the Royal Society is celebrating its 350th anniversary this year. That is a marvelous accomplishment and to be honest I can't name many institutions that have been around that long.

Bill Bryson is the perfect person to have headed this project. As a general science writer Bryson is aware of how important science and the Royal Society has been to the development of modern society. Then there is the rather eclectic group of contributors that have each offered a discussion on the development of science. Authors include James Gleick, Margaret Atwood, Margaret Wertheim, Neal Stephenson, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Simon Schaffer, Richard Holmes, Richard Fortey, Richard Dawkins, Henry Petroski, Georgiana Ferry, Steve Jones, Philip Ball, Paul Davies, Ian Stewart, John D. Barrow, Oliver Morton, Maggie Gee, Stephen H. Schneider, Gregory Benford, and Martin Rees. I'd have to admit that Margaret Atwoods discussion of Jonathan Swift's Academy, and Richard Dawkins' Darwin's Five Bridges: The Way to Natural Selection is for me the highlight of the book. However, each and every chapter is eye opening and worthy of your time.

It is a difficult fact to get your head around that when the Royal Society was established in 1660 we knew so little of the causes of the physical phenomenon of our planet. Whether the topic was the causes of the tides or why summer was warmer than winter, mystery tended to shroud almost everything. The Royal Society created the scientific method thus allowing discoveries to be measured and duplicated and encouraged good scientific exploration. "Good" in this case is relative, meaning that it was better than what preceded it. "Good" by today's standard still left much to be desired.

Seeing Further is written for the general public and even the most "unscientific" of us will have no problem making sense of what is read.

Well written and containing a section devoted to further reading, Seeing Further is a fun and inspiring read.

I give it five stars after reading the whole book.

Peace to all.
83 von 85 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen NOT a Bill Bryson Book--but a cool science book 19. Januar 2011
Von Evan E. Fusco MD - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I love Bill Bryson, have read most of his books and am actively trying to finish reading his others. So, I eagerly downloaded Seeing Further as soon as it came out eagerly anticipating Bryson's wit and writing style....and was disappointed quickly.

The intro is by Bryson, but not anything particularly witty.

But, I'd purchased the book, I like sciency stuff and was interested in learning more about the Royal Society, so I persevered.

And, ultimately, I'm glad I did. It's a nice updated on the current state of science in the world. There are discussions of String Theory as well as updates on evolution concepts. There are interesting discussions of dead scientists as well as living ones. All the various vignettes are written by scientists and/or science writers, therefore the quality of the various stories vary depending upon whether the writer is more writer or more scientist.

All in all it's a worthwhile science book. But it isn't a Bryson book by any means.
51 von 54 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Bryson Demonstrates a Consistent Level of Excellence that Even Great Writers Don't Seem to Aspire to - Five Stars !!!! 21. Dezember 2010
Von Richad of Connecticut - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Bill Bryson's latest book is the story of the founding of the Royal Society of London, a unique group if there ever was one. Founded in 1660, it has done more to advance science than any other institution in the world including all the great English universities, including the great German institutions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries where so much applied science was achieved, and including our finest schools in the early part of this century.

Twelve men got together at Gresham College in London 350 years ago, and together founded a group dedicated to the assistance and promotion of the accumulation of knowledge. Could you imagine the difficulty of keeping such a group together for 3  centuries? There was no endowment to bind them to a common cause, and no lineage of professor and student. There were wars, famine, depressions, and radical changes in government, and yet the society survived, and prospered through it all, based on the need for each of the members to add to the body of knowledge that we all benefit from today.

Bryson (he's the editor) by putting this book together has created a gift for those of us who truly appreciate great books. This story has never been told in anything approaching this kind of quality. From the exquisite artwork and graphics to the selection of contributing writers, it's first class all the way. The basis of the Royal Society was CLARITY OF EXPRESSION. They did not want scholars who were interested in impressing you with their language. It was about the power of their intellectual achievements, but people at the same time had to understand those achievements. Fortunately, the Royal Society had a succession of noteworthy secretaries who enforced clarity, a full 100 years before the English government adopted the idea of secretaries for itself.

Some of the unique characteristics of the Royal Society of London include:

* The Society was truly international in nature. That is why it is the Royal Society of London, not Great Britain. Had it been Great Britain, it might not have survived the centuries, and certainly had it survived, it would not be in its present form. It was the international flavoring that created the international acceptance.

* Prior to its formation, all science was done in Latin, the language of the ages. The Royal Society implemented the universal acceptance of English as the language of science, and it has been that way ever since.

* The Society basically invented the concept of scientific publishing with rigorous standards, and PEER REVIEW. Both concepts are still employed today universally.

* They systematized experimentation in science, and this was a revolution by itself.

* Have you ever noticed how many scientists talk using jingoistic language? To the extent that this is no longer prevalent today is the direct result of the Royal Society which argued vehemently for simple, direct language.


There are 22 chapters in a narrative stretching 486 pages. There is then a list for further reading, and a list of illustrations followed by an excellent index. There are 22 outstanding authors that have contributed diverse works to this book. A few examples are James Gleick who is probably Isaac Newton's definitive biographer.

Richard Dawkins has written about Charles Darwin who was a celebrated member of the Royal Society. Paul Davies writes about the universe, and Ian Stewart writes a beautiful piece about math. It is left to Martin Rees to write about 50 years from NOW. There is not a single selection that I would not categorize as outstanding.

Bryson has also done something totally unique that I have seen employed by the publishing industy. Next to each of the 22 chapters in the book, he puts a distinctive colored bar next to the author's name. If you now hold the book closed in your hand and look at the edge of the book, the publishers have run a series of color bars along the edge of the closed pages. You literally only have to look at the color on the edging to find the chapter you want. You do not have to go by page number. It is absolutley ingenious, and amazing that no one has used this technique.


In 350 years there have been 8200 members of the Royal Society of London, that's it. Today there are approximately 1400 Fellows. There have been 69 Nobel Laureates. If you made a list of the most extraordinary members, it would be at least a page in length. Bill Bryson has once again put together a magnificent book that covers enormous ground, and reading it is an education in itself. After reading Bryson's, A Short History of Nearly Everything, I was hoping that this book would be just as good. It may be even better, because of the assortment of great minds that have contributed to it. You are going to love this book, and thank you for reading this review.

Richard C. Stoyeck
18 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen disappointing 18. April 2011
Von arpard fazakas - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I found this book somewhat disappointing. It didn't quite live up to the billing of its title. I expected a book entirely devoted to the history of the Royal Society and the fascinating scientific discoveries its members have produced.

The book starts with an introductory chapter by Bill Bryson, the editor, and then follows with single-chapter contributions from many different authors, some scientists in their own right but the majority science writers, or experts in the history and/or philosophy of science. The introductory chapter describes the founding of the Royal Society and its exalted place in the history of science, and whet my appetite for more details about what the Royal Society has actually done since its founding in 1660. And indeed some of the chapters did focus on this. But many others were only tangentially (if at that) related to the Royal Society, and devoted themselves to well-written but sometimes wordy discourses on various aspects of modern science and its philosophical and sociocultural implications. These may of course interest many readers but in my opinion do not really fulfill the promise of the book's title.

I have read many such treatises over the years, but have become increasingly aware that writing about science, especially branches of science highly dependent on the language of mathematics, can never convey the essence of the topic and are plagued with the pitfalls of trying to translate mathematical grammar and syntax into English. Inevitably they are as much about the personal opinions, however sophisticated and informed, of the author as about the actual business of the science being described. This is particularly true when the topic is the philosophical or sociocultural implications of physics. My attitude toward such musings has hardened along the lines of Richard Feynman's bemused dismissal.

There's no disputing matters of taste, so if you enjoy this type of writing, you will enjoy this book. If you're looking for lots of interesting insights into what the Royal Society and its members have done since 1660, you'll probably be a bit disappointed.
23 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Bryson highlights the discoveries and geniuses of science 9. Dezember 2010
Von Jack Frost East - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
First, every reader should know that Seeing Further is GORGEOUS book. It is filled with color photographs of everything from Newton's death mask to beautiful glimpses of distant galaxies. But it's also a treasure trove of fascinating stories about the personalities, geniuses, mad scientist, and the like who have made the extraordinary discoveries of modern science. Bryson is in top form in bringing together this remarkable look at the glories of science.
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