2008: 19. A Short History of Nearly Everything

“Welcome.  And congratulations.  I am delighted that you could make it.  Getting here wasn’t easy, I know.”

A Short of History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson

So, before I blog about this, you should know that even though I have an advanced degree and have attended two Ivy League universities, I am hopelessly dim about math and science.  Embarrassingly dim.  My husband tells some reeeeally bad stories about stupid things I’ve said.  So, this book might as well have been written for me - everything he said was like a big Oh! moment of clarity.  In case you don’t know, the book is Bryson (another non-scientist) explaining a lot of basic science to us liberal arts types.  It is clear, and well written, and packed with anecdotes and factoids and analogies, and I tell you, this is a long book about a subject outside of my wheelhouse and I found it to be a page turner.  In fact, I turned down about every twentieth page to remind me to look up more about some fact he highlighted.  Like, did you know that Harvard hired a bunch of women in the 19th Century to be “computers” for the astronomy department (by which I mean they computed numbers?).  And it turns out that like three of them became famous astronomers and invented crazy scientific theorems?  And nevertheless, they called them “Pickering’s* Harem”?  Every page was like this, totally fascinating! Maybe I am going to have to read more books about science (well, only if they are jam packed with historical factoids!).

* Pickering was the head of the department

Date/Place Completed: 2/1/08; D.C.

Categories: Non-Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017