[[ PDF / Epub ]] ✅ Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society Author Bill Bryson – Submitalink.info

[[ PDF / Epub ]] ✅ Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society Author Bill Bryson – Submitalink.info Right from the start, the dishonesty of the book s title was an extreme aggravation to me It takes a mildly amusing collection of essays and contorts them into a cheap marketing gimmick selling them as somethinggrandiose andthorough than they really are I had at least hoped the essays themselves would have had some bearing on the title of the book, though this was frequently not the case.In broad terms there are really two books here one, a collection of essays on science and it Right from the start, the dishonesty of the book s title was an extreme aggravation to me It takes a mildly amusing collection of essays and contorts them into a cheap marketing gimmick selling them as somethinggrandiose andthorough than they really are I had at least hoped the essays themselves would have had some bearing on the title of the book, though this was frequently not the case.In broad terms there are really two books here one, a collection of essays on science and its history in a simple, popularized format for those of us with slim forebrains and the other, an assortment of rambling platitudes from the departments of artshumanities These belongto the domain of literary criticism than science they dwell heavily on personal feelings and attitudes towards science, and make a great deal of irrelevant connections that never seem to come to any point.For example, though a lot of readers seemed to like the Margaret Atwood essay, I can hardly see why While tracing out the literary history of the mad scientist, she ultimately reinforces rather than repudiates the cliche, and does little to contrast the stereotype with science actually applied It is a literary essay wrapped between a host of personal anecdotes and specious ethical dilemmas.One essay concerns itself almost entirely with theology another attempts to vindicate some obscure philosophical views of leibnitz with tortured reinterpretations of modern science it reminded me of religious scholars who pretend to discover modern laws of physics in their antiquated books One essay harps endlessly on seeing a picture of the earth from outside and how stultifying it is, for some inexplicable reason There follows a brief essay on eschatologyWhat does science mean to us, where is our place in the universe, how can we cope with this knowledge, where does science leave heaven These sorts of meaningless open ended questions are better suited to an introductory philosophy course than either a science or a history book, but it characterizes the tenor of many of these essays Now you may enjoy that sort of thing personally, but it has no bearing on the purported subject of the book, and it doesn t justify its placement on the science shelf of the bookstore.All that being said, there are a lot of genuinely good essays here, both scientific and historical, that are worth reading They just deserved a better book This is a wonderful book and in my opinion we would all benefit from reading it Ostensibly it is the history of science and the Royal Society, an organisation started by scientists in 1660 becoming royal in 1662 after the granting of the royal charter to promote learning and understanding of the world and how that learning can benefit Mankind.The wonderful thing about the Royal Society is that it is about just that learning, understanding and, thankfully, advising those in power what might This is a wonderful book and in my opinion we would all benefit from reading it Ostensibly it is the history of science and the Royal Society, an organisation started by scientists in 1660 becoming royal in 1662 after the granting of the royal charter to promote learning and understanding of the world and how that learning can benefit Mankind.The wonderful thing about the Royal Society is that it is about just that learning, understanding and, thankfully, advising those in power what might be the consequences of following certain paths this is particularly important now, with climate change very much on the agenda though much lower down the list of priorities than it should be The Royal Society does not care what racial background you enjoy, where you live or what religion or politics you favour, it is all about intelligence, learning, growing, developing, understanding and applying knowledge for the public good This means that it isindependent than many organisations and tries hard not to represent any special interest groups unless you count ordinary human beings, so is an excellent example of the benign face of science practised for good, as opposed to our often held view nowadays of science as the reason we have nuclear weapons and are ruining our planet and, therefore, hastening the demise of our own species.An example of the Society s independence is that during World War Two they refused to expel German members even though the government wanted them to do so.Some of the chapters in the book are quite heavy to a layman like myself, though manyare much easier to digest They are all fascinating, interesting, illuminating and thought provoking I said in my opening description that the book is ostensibly about science that is because the history of science includes the history of carbon dating, evolution and the changing knowledge of the vastness of the cosmos, which in turn feeds into religious beliefs, philosophy and all of the human social bases for living In short, science has changed our perceptions of everything and technology is only a part of that.Technology, of course, is now probably the most pervasive issue not only in science but in society as a whole It has almost engulfed us it seems to my old fashioned mind and seems likely to continue Technology is wonderful, of course, and has given us so many amazing benefits that we could not even have dreamed of only forty years ago.My personal view, however, is that it has also robbed us, that we are even now a little less brave, a little less involved and a little less caring about the real world, as we become everdetached from it My old fashioned mind cannot understand why young people feel the need to tell the world where they are going for lunch especially if it s only for a pizza or why they want to be in 24 7 contact with everyone they ve ever met Both parents and children alike worry if a child is away from home without a phone and it seems this continuous intouchness is breeding insecurity and unnecessary worry, whilst also delaying emotional maturity Sorry to bang on there s no going back now.The book ends with a description of climate change, how it has been reported and is, or is not, being addressed One of the interesting aspects is that scientists prefer to have a weight of evidence through experimentation and observation before they make strong recommendations or give advice to the decision makers In the case of climate change, unfortunately, this is not currently possible, so they have to go with computer modelling which keeps getting better, fortunately , best guesswork and risk management techniques This has meant that they have always tempered their messages with cautions, caveats and if s, but s and maybe s, because predicting it is a bit like trying to predict the weather in a hundred years time.This in turn has enabled those with a vested interest in the status quo to wheel out their own experts who checks their qualifications to refute the majority of scientists who are warning us about climate change and muddy the waters, which only leans to inaction We saw this with tobacco for decades the tobacco lobby vehemently denied that smoking kills because there was not enough evidence to prove it Vested interests doing the same on climate change may end up with millionsdeaths on their hands than Big Tobacco did but all the lawsuits in the world won t compensate humanity for that Humans can be astonishingly stupid sometimes, especially when there is a profit to be made.One major attraction of the book is that it brings science and mathematics into focus in terms of our daily lives mobile phones, TVs, modern aircraft and the internet simply could not exist without a firm understanding of complicated maths way above my head and the book is good at putting these things in context It almost wants to make you rush off and pick up a maths book almost.The book offers muchthan I have outlined here and I recommend you read it 5 stars Rating 6 10This collection of essays on science and the Royal Society is a gorgeously designed book The use of pictures and colors throughout is appealing and tasteful.The best essays are those which focus on the history of the Royal Society itself, and how the elements of science we take for granted today came to be through the genius and work of extraordinary people I was not familiar with much of this history, and I found it fascinating For example, the scientific method of gaining knowle Rating 6 10This collection of essays on science and the Royal Society is a gorgeously designed book The use of pictures and colors throughout is appealing and tasteful.The best essays are those which focus on the history of the Royal Society itself, and how the elements of science we take for granted today came to be through the genius and work of extraordinary people I was not familiar with much of this history, and I found it fascinating For example, the scientific method of gaining knowledge of the world through repeatable tests and measurements seems like common sense in hindsight, but it was in fact worked out over centuries.Unfortunately, the second half of this book was a disappointment as it lost its focus and direction The essays turned away from history tomodern issues facing scientists today Some of these were simply too plain e.g., a one chapter overview of an issue such as alien life or global warming, when the issue is already well known and the chapter brings nothing to the discussion Other essays were odd and didn t seem to suit the book.The final chapter is a rambling conclusion which makes the brain achingly obvious point that science has accomplished much, but that we will need scientists evenas facecomplex problems in the 21st century Who doesn t understand that This chapter features a picture of an iPhone to illustrate how marvelous science can be, which triggered a rapid rolling of my eyes.Despite a weak conclusion, I can heartily recommend the opening chapters The reader can simply read any essays which seem appealing, and at the end have an attractive addition to the old bookshelf This is a collection of essays written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society of London, edited and curated by the omnipresent Bill Bryson The main attraction for me was that the essays, each focusing on a member of the Society, or a discovery, or on some aspect of its innumerable contributions to human knowledge, were written by a large cast authors like James Gleick, Margret Atwood, and Neal Stephenson rub shoulders with actual scientists and mathematicians like Richard Dawk This is a collection of essays written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society of London, edited and curated by the omnipresent Bill Bryson The main attraction for me was that the essays, each focusing on a member of the Society, or a discovery, or on some aspect of its innumerable contributions to human knowledge, were written by a large cast authors like James Gleick, Margret Atwood, and Neal Stephenson rub shoulders with actual scientists and mathematicians like Richard Dawkins, Ian Stewart, and Gregory Benford This means there s a variety of perspectives, which is both good and bad My favorite was Stephenson s explanation of how superstar philosopher mathematician inventor general scientific badass Gottfried Leibniz s bizarre monad philosophy compared not only with archrival Isaac Newton s discoveries, but also with contemporary work into the nature of reality It s a perfect example of a talented author tackling a difficult subject I m not sure anyone knows exactly what Leibniz was thinking, but he s been ridiculed by everyone from Voltaire on down with style and thoughtfulness My other favorite was Dawkins essay on Darwin, which is a similarly good example of how to clearly explain exactly why a complicated idea not only makes sense, but explains the world better than its alternatives While there were several that either fell short of the mark or were otherwise lacking of interesting content Margaret Wertheim s piece in particular had an almost unbearably high ratio of words to ideas, and was full of freshman undergrad type vagaries , overall it was an excellent collection If you re looking for a quick sampler of perspectives on scientific issues, you could certainly do worse, and it made me aware of the Society s vast influence on the modern world Physically, this is a magnificent book, beautifully produced on high quality paper, well illustrated, and a fitting celebration of the Royal Society s 350th year of existence Intellectually, though, it is hard to know quite what to make of it In 22 short contributions, science popularisers rub shoulders with authors of science fiction and Fellows of the Royal Society, covering topics that range from fanciful speculation to serious science, withthan a smattering of history All of the con Physically, this is a magnificent book, beautifully produced on high quality paper, well illustrated, and a fitting celebration of the Royal Society s 350th year of existence Intellectually, though, it is hard to know quite what to make of it In 22 short contributions, science popularisers rub shoulders with authors of science fiction and Fellows of the Royal Society, covering topics that range from fanciful speculation to serious science, withthan a smattering of history All of the contributors write well, and the result is an enjoyable light read The only equations appear in the contribution from John Barrow The book is, in short, just what you would expect from a volume edited by Bill Bryson But I yearned forscientific meat, as would surely have been appropriate to the occasion Even on its own terms, there is one glaring omission in the book Seeing Further begins with the first formal meeting of what became the Royal Society, on 28 November 1660 But it offers no explanation of how or why the particular group of gentleman gathered at Gresham College in London that day, after a time of profound turmoil in British Society, decided to form a Colledge for the Promoting of Physico Mathematicall Experimentall Learning The initial success of the Royal Society, and the fact that it still exists today, are both profoundly linked to the very special circumstances existing in England at the time of the Restoration There are other bizarre omissions As far as I could tell, in spite of the subtitle of the book there is no mention of either of two of the Royal s most eminent and influential Fellows Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell I say as far as I could tell since, inexcusably, the book has no index at all, and only an extremely inadequate bibliography If space problems were offered as an excuse, my response would be to ask if we really need two chapters on Charles Darwin But enough of the negatives For me, the meat begins with Simon Schaffer s discussion of what he calls Promethean Science, highlighted by his delicious quote from the Lord Chief Justice, ruling on a lawsuit brought in the 1780s In matters of science, the reasoning of men of science can only be answered by men of science How apposite in the light of present day debate about the classification of dangerous drugs or the risks posed by climatic change There are superb contributions from Richard Fortey and Georgina Ferry, who is my favourite science writer since she writes so well on topics which I know nothing about And that, clearly, is the point of the book it is for people who know nothing about the Royal Society, and very little about science Such readers will also be well served by Ian Stewart, who brings home for the uninitiated the vital underpinning of mathematics to everyday life with an explanation of how the JPEG compression standard can store an impossible amount of information on a camera s memory card Stewart s contribution is particularly telling, both in the context of the whole book, and in terms of the relationship between science and society today He cites, as an example of the lack of understanding of the role of mathematics even among scientists, the member of NASA s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who commented that in the Mars Rover programme we don t really use any abstract algebra, group theory, and that sort, only to be confounded when told about the importance of Galois fields in the channel coding used to reduce errors in the flow of information not just in messages from Mars, but in reproducing sound from a CD Scientists ought to be aware of the role of mathematics in such situations, although the average non scientist can surely be excused for not knowing the extent to which digital communications rely on such sophisticated coding techniques But surely there is a need fornon scientists to at least understand that it is science that underpins the modern world, even if they do not know exactly what science Coincidentally, the day I began writing this review a friend in the USA told me using a digital network relying on Galois fields how on a network news broadcast, in discussing the lack of a good ovarian cancer test, a reporter said Science always moves too slowly My friend s wife, a physics professor, who doesn t usually talk back to the TV, burst out Well that s who you have Want to ask an English major What the Royal Society gave us, nearly 350 years ago, was a way to go beyond the wishful thinking involved in that TV reporter s remark, to study the evidence and above all to test hypotheses by experiment They weren t quite the first to do this, but they were the first to make it stick, nailing their colours to the mast with their motto Nullius in verba The sad thing is that it is still necessary to spell this out, and still necessary to explain why you should not take an English major s word for it when it comes to problems such as global warming If this book reaches the readership for which it seems to be intended, it will do a lot of good My concern, though, is that the people who would benefit from the message in the book won t read it, and the people who will read it are already familiar with the message it contains But as Bryson says, the remarkable fact about the Royal Society is that it s still there More than that, it is still there and it is still important How many enterprises can you name that are still doing today what they were formed to do 350 years ago Dare we hope that it will survive for another 350 years, in spite of the recent gloomy prognostications of its present President In 350 years, the Royal Society has had a mere 8,200 members, but what a roll call of names In 2010, the Royal Society celebrated its 350th birthday Its official foundation date is 28 November 1660, when a group of twelve men met at Gresham College after a lecture by Christopher Wren, then the Gresham Professor of Astronomy This group of men, who included Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, Sir Robert Moray, and William, Viscount Brouncker, decided to found a Colledge for the Promoting of Physico M In 350 years, the Royal Society has had a mere 8,200 members, but what a roll call of names In 2010, the Royal Society celebrated its 350th birthday Its official foundation date is 28 November 1660, when a group of twelve men met at Gresham College after a lecture by Christopher Wren, then the Gresham Professor of Astronomy This group of men, who included Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, Sir Robert Moray, and William, Viscount Brouncker, decided to found a Colledge for the Promoting of Physico Mathematicall Experimentall Learning.The Society was to meet weekly to witness experiments and discuss scientific topics The first Curator of Experiments was Robert Hooke Sir Robert Moray told Charles II of this venture, and the Society obtained its first Royal Charter in 1662 In the second Royal Charter of 1663 the Society is referred to as The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge Science is an unending quest as its frontiers advance, new mysteries come into focus just beyond those frontiers This collection of essays celebrates the existence and achievements of the Royal Society More than 80 Nobel Laureates have been members of the Royal Society, and its members have included Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Ernest Rutherford and Francis Crick Current fellows include Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking The essays have been written by an eclectic group of authors including novelists Margaret Atwood, Maggie Gee, and Neal Stephenson , historians Georgina Ferry, Richard Holmes and James Gleick and scientists Richard Dawkins, Steve Jones and Sir Martin Rees Other writers include Gregory Benford, Henry Petroski and Margaret Wertheim Royal Society of London describes a location, not an allegiance My favourite essays in this collection were those by Richard Holmes A new age of flight Joseph Banks goes ballooning Henry Petroski Images of Progress Conferences of Engineers Ian Stewart Behind the Scenes the hidden mathematics that rules the world and Gregory Benford Time The Winged Chariot Mathematics is simply the catalogue of all possible patterns I enjoyed reading this book and I d recommend reading it slowly, enjoying each essay before moving on to the next It isn t necessary to understand all of the science I certainly don t in order to appreciate the achievements the history is fascinating in its own right Sometimes complexity can be simple too Jennifer Cameron Smith This is a series of essays tied in some cases loosely to the Royal Society I found several of the essays fascinating In the first half I was particularly interested in those that discussed the development of scientific thinking and the impact that thinking had on the rest of the world Unfortunately some were less fascinating e.g the rise npi of ballooning There were also quite a few on the theme of current problems of global warming and its impact on the oceans life etc While these ar This is a series of essays tied in some cases loosely to the Royal Society I found several of the essays fascinating In the first half I was particularly interested in those that discussed the development of scientific thinking and the impact that thinking had on the rest of the world Unfortunately some were less fascinating e.g the rise npi of ballooning There were also quite a few on the theme of current problems of global warming and its impact on the oceans life etc While these are important topics they didn t seem to have a lot to do with the Royal Society and much has been written about them elsewhere This book was excellent Most informative and thought provoking I have ended up buying multiple copies because I believe that everyone or at least friends and family should have a copy on their shelves. I loved the opening by Bill Bryson, which as usual is at his best when he gets you excited about science and the people who brave it Like many other readers, I never realized though that this book is not actually by Bryson, and that he has only a small part in it The rest are essays of different levels of interest and quality I would have loved to learnabout the Royal Society and its achievements through the last few centuries, but this is not what this book is about Feel a little chea I loved the opening by Bill Bryson, which as usual is at his best when he gets you excited about science and the people who brave it Like many other readers, I never realized though that this book is not actually by Bryson, and that he has only a small part in it The rest are essays of different levels of interest and quality I would have loved to learnabout the Royal Society and its achievements through the last few centuries, but this is not what this book is about Feel a little cheated, actually I didn t like Margaret Atwood s essay and its message very much It may be intellectually bright, but it is an alarmist take on the dangers of science, with literature being drafted to strengthen the point I m not sure that the authors of the books mentioned in it would agree with this point, or others that Atwood makes As always, she takes it to the extremes It is true that science should be closely monitored by society to decide how best to use it, but to attack science in general is what makes people like Trump possible Anyway, I m giving up on this book now, it s not what I was hoping for From The Royal Society, A Peerless Collection Of All New Science WritingBill 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 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 WritersThe 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 TrekThe 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 Pages Of Results , Entries, Nearly As Many As For The Church Of England At , And Considerably Than For The House Of Commons , Or House Of Lords , 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 From The Hardcover Edition

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