Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society
This fascinating book follows the history of the most prestigious and impactful scientific society in history. The scientists of the Royal Society of London, England have been at the forefront of the most important scientific discoveries and theories of the last 358 years. A group of renowned scientists and writers come together in this book, edited by Bill Bryson, to shed light on their favorite aspects of the Royal Society, its history, and many brilliant and more than occasionally peculiar personages.
There is plenty of inside dirt and more than a few never before seen artifacts and stories on display in the multitude of articles in this, if not comprehensive, well targeted history. The wide array of authors gives the reader an expansive view of this group of men who have done more in the past three centuries to move the technology and science of the human race forward than in the first 10,000 years of human history.
And speaking of history; the history of this prestigious and exclusive club unfolds in the many tales that come out of this loosely connected folio of essays in ways subtle and at times forceful. But the result is that after reading this book one has a curiosity inducing overview of the history of the society and some of its more colorful characters. This is a book that leads to interest in plenty of other science writing books. Each author has a short bibliography as part of the introduction to their essay. Along with this there is an extensive reference section for several of the more prolific authors. This all provides plenty of avenues to follow after reading each article and the complete tome.
This collection delivers a deeply intriguing and edifying view into the Royal Society and the ways that this 350 year old organization has changed our understanding of nature. I learned a lot about the history of science in the west from this book. I recommend this book for the extensive history and the varied viewpoints on the circumstances and characters at the heart of scientific development over the last 350 years.