A Little History of Science - William Bynum
Whatever first prompted people to ask why? and how?, the questions have led to discoveries ranging from photosynthesis to genes to gravity to quarks. This ongoing “human endeavor to understand the world” is the theme of A Little History of Science (Yale Univ., $25), William Bynum’s contribution to the popular series modeled on E. H. Gombrich’s enchanting A Little History of the World. Bynum, too, was charmed by the 1935 survey for young people, and he has followed his predecessor’s winning formula of brief, brisk chapters that cover an astonishing number of topics in clear, conversational language. “Science is special,” Bynum declares—and proves it, delving into its many branches and outlining the work not just of major European thinkers but those of ancient and Eastern peoples. He also defines terms, explains technologies, and traces how one experiment leads to the next. In short, the book tells a story of wonder and surprise; designed for young people, yes—but written for everyone.