TL;DR: a nice popular science book that covers many aspects of the modern science
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is a popular science book. I didn’t learn anything fundamental out of this book, but it was worth reading. I was particularly impressed by the intrigues, lies, and manipulations behind so many scientific discoveries and discoverers.
The main “selling point” of this book is that it answers the question, “how do the scientists know what they know”? How, for example, do we know the age of Earth or the skin color of the dinosaurs? The author indeed provides some insight. However, because the book tries to talk about “nearly everything,” the answer isn’t focused enough. Simon Singh’s book “Big Bang” concentrates on the cosmology and provides a better insight into the question of “how do we know what we know.”
Interesting takeaways and highlights
- Of the problem that our Universe is unlikely to be created by chance: “Although the creation of Universe is very unlikely, nobody knows about failed attempts.”
- The Universe is unlimited but finite (think of a circle)
- Developments in chemistry were the driving force of the industrial revolution. Nevertheless, chemistry wasn’t recognized as a scientific field in its own for several decades
The bottom line: Read if you have time 3.5/5.