Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society

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9780007302567: Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society

Edited and introduced by Bill Bryson, and with contributions from Richard Dawkins, Margaret Atwood, David Attenborough, Martin Rees and Richard Fortey amongst others, this is a remarkable volume celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Royal Society.Since its inception in 1660, the Royal Society has pioneered scientific discovery and exploration. The oldest scientific academy in existence, its backbone is its Fellowship of the most eminent scientists in history including Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Today, its Fellows are the most influential men and women in science, many of whom have contributed to this ground-breaking volume alongside some of the world's most celebrated novelists, essayists and historians.Published to mark its 350th anniversary, this highly illustrated book celebrates the Royal Society's vast achievements in its illustrious past as well as its huge contribution to the development of modern science. With unrestricted access to the Society's archives and photographs, 'Seeing Further' shows that the history of scientific endeavour and discovery is a continuous thread running through the history of the world and of society - and is one that continues to shape the world we live in today.

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From the Back Cover:

Edited and introduced by Bill Bryson, with original contributions from "a glittering array of scientific writing talent" (Sunday Observer) including Richard Dawkins, Margaret Atwood, Richard Holmes, Martin Rees, Richard Fortey, Steve Jones, James Gleick, and Neal Stephenson, among others, this incomparable book tells the spectacular story of science and the international Royal Society, from 1660 to the present. Seeing Further is also gorgeously illustrated with photographs, documents, and treasures from the Society's exclusive archives.

On a damp weeknight in November three hundred and fifty years ago, a dozen men gathered in London. After hearing an obscure twenty-eight-year-old named Christopher Wren lecture on the wonders of astronomy, his rapt audience was moved to create a society to promote the accumulation of useful—and fascinating—knowledge. At that, the Royal Society was born, and with it, modern science.

Since then, the Royal Society has pioneered global scientific exploration and discovery. Its members have split the atom, discovered the double helix and the electron, and given us the computer and the World Wide Web. Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, Joseph Banks, Humphry Davy, John Locke, Alexander Fleming, Stephen Hawking—all have been fellows. Bill Bryson's favorite fellow is the Reverend Thomas Bayes, a brilliant mathematician who devised Bayes' theorem. Its complexity meant that it had little practical use in Bayes' own lifetime, but today his theorem is used for weather forecasting, astrophysics, and even stock-market analysis. A milestone in mathematical history, it exists only because the Royal Society decided to preserve it—just in case.

Truly global in its outlook, the Royal Society now is credited with creating modern science. Seeing Further is an unprecedented celebration of its history and the power of ideas, bringing together the very best of science writing.

About the Author:

Bill Bryson's many books include, most recently 'The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid' as well as 'A Short History of Nearly Everything', 'I'm a Stranger Here Myself', 'A walk in the Woods', 'Neither Here Nor There', 'Made in America', and 'Notes from a Small Island'. He edited 'The Best American Travel Writing 2000'. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, USA, he now lives in Norfolk with his wife and four children.

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