Friday, December 23, 2005

An Entertaining Science Book...

Hang on, did I key the title correctly ?? I mean, look at it. "An Entertaining Science Book'.. when was a book on science ever entertaining ?? interesting, yes but entertaining ??.. How many of us found science at school n college entertaining ?.. Newton's laws of motion, oxidation and reduction reactions, chloroplasts and photosynthesis etc etc.. all this was fine, people made careers out of these and other such disciplines.. but still 'entertaining' does not quite fill in.. but thankfully, the book I am reading is of that rare combination.. people who have read it already might know what I am talking abt.. yes it is 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' by Bill Bryson..

Now when I first saw this book at an exhibition a few months back, I was fascinated by the title. I thought, how can anyone write a history, albeit short, of just about everything, much less in a 600 page book ? This, and a quick glance, made me buy the book.. and rightly so, since it is more a reference book rather than something that is borrowed from a friend, read once and then returned..

Ok.. coming to the book.. as the title suggests, its a good narration of how many things and disciplines that we see around us have evolved.. it includes things as infinite as the universe as well as cells, chloroplasts on the other end of the scale..the beauty of all this is that the author has kept the narration simple without going into too much of terminology.. and of course, since this is a book about 'history of science'.. he goes well into how things developed into what they are.. with a good sense of humour thrown in.. for me, the best part of the book is how he has converted scientific quantities and numbers into something that we laymen can imagine.. for eg the fact that Pluto is 'x' million miles away from the Sun may not seem much, but when the author says that from the surface of Pluto, the Sun would appear the size of a pin-head, things begin falling into place and we can grasp the enormity of space much better... with numerous other examples, the author has ensured that scientific dimensions like distances, mass, pressures etc do not remain mere figures with some unit attached to it but are something that we can describe in terms of objects around us.. this makes the book even more entertaining and helps us remember..

So to finish, heres something for the collectors shelf, go ahead and buy it..


1 comment:

sd said...

Will try to get that book. So how was the reunion? I was hoping to see a post with pics!