A Short History of Nearly Everything by American author Bill Bryson is a popular science book that explains some areas of science, using easily accessible language that appeals more so to the general public than many other books dedicated to the subject. It was one of the bestselling popular science books of 2005 in the United Kingdom, selling over 300,000 copies.
The book gives many instances on the oldest and biggest questions one have posed about the universe and ourselves. A Short History sets the quest on everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization.
The top 20 fascinating things grasped from Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of nearly everything”.
1. If you go outside and grab a handful of soil then it will contain up to a million of plump yeasts, nearly 200,000 molds and about 10,000 protozoans and other entities like flat worms, round worms and other microscopic creatures known collectively as Cryptozoic.
2. A large portion of these above mentioned will also be in unknown number if one
runs a finger along a dusty shelf and hence drawing a pattern of very largely in dead skin.
3. About half the chemical functions that take place in a banana are basically the same as the chemical functions that take place in your body, yes we’ve been a part of banana since we were born and we didn’t even know it.
4. Marine organisms capture atmospheric carbon in the form of CO2, when it falls as rain and they use it to make their shells by locking the carbon in their shells and they keep it from being evaporated into the atmosphere where it would build up as dangerously as a greenhouse gas that keeps the planet stable and cool.
5. A great blue whale’s heart is the size of a car.
6. Carl Sagan in his book cosmos raised the possibility that if you travel downwards into an electron you might find that it contains a universe of its own.
7.“E=MC^2” what does it mean? It basically says that mass and energy have an equivalence and they are two forms of the same thing energy is liberated matter and matter is energy waiting to happen since “C” to the speed of light times itself is a truly enormous number what the equation is saying is that there is a huge amount of energy stored within every material thing if you are an average-sized adult you will contain around 7 times 10 to the power of 18 ([7*10]^18) joules of potential energy enough to explode with the force of 30 large hydrogen bombs.Even a uranium bomb the most energetic thing we have produced yet releases less than 1% of the energy and it could release if only we could work out how.
8. If you burned a book then its matter would be changed to ash and smoke but the net amount of ash and smoke in the universe would remain the same.
9. If an atom were expanded to the size of the cathedral the nucleus would be only about the size of a fly
butterfly many thousands of times heavier than the Cathedral.
10. Karl Popper who Steven Weinberg has called the Dean of modern philosophers of science once suggested that there may not in fact be an ultimate theory for physics that rather every explanation may require a further explanation producing an infinite chain of more and more fundamental principles.
11. The common ground cherry was once called “PHYSALIS AMNO RAMOSISSIME RAMIS ANGULOSIS GLABRIS FOLIIS DENTOSERRSTIS”.
12. 99.99% of all species that have ever lived are no longer with us.
13. You want to grow your beard faster then according to Bryson how fast a man’s beard grows is partly a function of how much he thinks about sex because thinking about sex produces a testosterone surge.
14. For every kilogram of shrimp harvested about 4 kilograms of fish and other marine creatures are destroyed.
15. We have better maps of Mars than we do over our own sea beds.
16. The above case may explain why 97% of the world’s plant and animal species may still await to be discovered. Of that organisms we do know about more than 99 and 100 are only barely described with just a scientific name a
handful of specimens in a museum and a few bits of description in scientific journals.
17. We are all reincarnation though short-lived ones. When we die our atoms will disassemble and move off to find new uses elsewhere as part of a leaf or other human being or a drop of dew atoms themselves however
pretty much go on forever.
18. You couldn’t be here without a little incest by comparing your genes with any other human beings and on average there will be about 99.9% of similarity.
19. When the universe expands it won’t be spreading out to fill a larger emptiness. The only space that exists is a space that creates as it goes last but not least.
20. We are the only creature that can harm at a distance.
Bryson provides a lesson in how it should be done. The prose is just as one would expect – energetic, quirky, familiar and humorous. Bryson’s great skill is that of lightly holding the reader’s hand throughout; building up such trust that topics as recondite as atomic weights, relativity and particle physics are horns of their terrors. Bryson enlivens his accounts of difficult concepts with entertaining historical vignettes. We learn, for example, of the Victorian naturalist whose scientific endeavors included serving up mole and spider to his guests; and of the Norwegian paleontologist who miscounted the number of fingers and toes on one of the most important fossil finds of recent history and wouldn’t let anyone else have a look at it for more than 48 years. Thus Bryson in a jovial manner depicts his books for not not losing the grip the readers when they read his book.
“It was as if [the textbook writer] wanted to keep the good stuff secret by making all of it soberly unfathomable.”
Also published on Medium.