A Little History of Science

  • by William F. Bynum
  • Narrated by Jonathan Cowley
  • 9 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Science is fantastic. It tells us about the infinite reaches of space, the tiniest living organism, the human body, the history of Earth. People have always been doing science because they have always wanted to make sense of the world and harness its power. From ancient Greek philosophers through Einstein and Watson and Crick to the computer-assisted scientists of today, men and women have wondered, examined, experimented, calculated, and sometimes made discoveries so earthshaking that people understood the world-or themselves-in an entirely new way.
This inviting audiobook tells a great adventure story: the history of science. It takes listeners to the stars through the telescope, as the sun replaces the earth at the center of our universe. It delves beneath the surface of the planet, charts the evolution of chemistry's periodic table, introduces the physics that explain electricity, gravity, and the structure of atoms. It recounts the scientific quest that revealed the DNA molecule and opened unimagined new vistas for exploration.
Emphasizing surprising and personal stories of scientists both famous and unsung, A Little History of Science traces the march of science through the centuries. The book opens a window on the exciting and unpredictable nature of scientific activity and describes the uproar that may ensue when scientific findings challenge established ideas. With a warm, accessible style, this is a book for young and old to treasure together.


What the Critics Say

"Bynum's lively narrative...certainly delivers on his opening line: 'Science is special.'" (Kirkus Starred Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Title Holds No Secret...

What did you love best about A Little History of Science?

The brief overview that it gave to most disciplines in Science was appreciated - even how Bynum chose to visit dark chapters in Science History such as eugenics. It left me wanting to know more about the men and women who dedicated their life to asking the basic questions of our natural world.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Little History of Science?

How the Ancients held such an incredible view of our world and universe without the aid of modern technology. I also loved how they established so many foundational truths for others to build on - as Newton said "standing on the shoulders of giants."

What about Jonathan Cowley’s performance did you like?

The British accent helped provide a little sophistication to the reading.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No extreme reactions - just an even deeper appreciation for mankind's journey through science.

Any additional comments?

As the title suggests - and which is of no surprise - this book provides an excellent, but brief overview of the history of science. After reading other reviews, I noticed many people were unhappy with the length or subject matter so I guess I went into this one with lower expectations.

My background is in biology, so naturally I'd prefer to read more about the history of life sciences, but I thought Bynum did a fair job of mixing the physical and life sciences together. I was a bit surprised that he didn't go into much detail with geology, but I think in all fairness he wanted to stick to the general themes within physical and life sciences, including medicine.

My only complaint was that he didn't go too far into the golden age of microbiology. Naturally, by having a greater interest in the life sciences, I was eager to know more about the history and figures of that era. Bynum briefly mentioned spontaneous generation and I was let down that he never mentioned Francesco Redi's meat jar experiments. Instead he discussed Pasteur's broth/flask experiments, which became the final 'kick in the pants' to spontaneous generation.

Altogether, if Bynum would have wrote more about what everyone complained about leaving out, this quick read would've turned into a lengthy text book - giving people something else to complain about. I think this book served a great purpose.

Pros: a great overview of mankind's journey through science and why it is important.
Cons: a "for more reading on this topic" section after each chapter would've been nice.
Bottom line: a great read for anyone interested in getting the 10,000 foot perspective of science.

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- Kevin

Good Coverage but Not Perfect

What made the experience of listening to A Little History of Science the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the narration. It plowed the surface and didn't drill too deep. Thus it provides a nice overview. I picked up on matrix mechanics being assigned to Schrodinger as the developer. More accurately, it came out of Heisenberg's camp.

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- Jim Krumpelman

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-21-2013
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio