Cover image for Almost everyone's guide to science : the universe, life and everything
Almost everyone's guide to science : the universe, life and everything
Gribbin, John, 1946-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, 1999.

Physical Description:
232 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Q162 .G84 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Q162 .G84 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Gribbon speaks to those who are interested in science but are scared off by the technical detail, in a broad picture of scientific achievement at the end of the 20th century.

Author Notes

John R. Gribbin (born 19 March 1946) is a British science writer, an astrophysicist, and a visiting fellow in astronomy at the University of Sussex. The topical range of his prolific writings include quantum physics, human evolution, climate change, global warming, the origins of the universe, and biographies of famous scientists. He also writes science fiction.

In 1984, Gribbin published In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality, the book that he is best known for, which continues to sell well even after years of publication. At the 2009 World Conference of Science Journalists, the Association of British Science Writers presented Gribbin with their Lifetime Achievement award.

(Bowker Author Biography) John Gribbin, visiting fellow in astronomy at the University of Sussex. He is married to Mary Grivvin, also a science writer.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

To learn about a proton, a platypus, or a pulsar, readers can turn to almost any encyclopedia. But for some understanding as to how modern science fits everything from quarks to quasars into one seamless whole, readers will find no better guide than Gribbin. Starting with the structure of the atom, he leads us through the miracles of chemistry, biology, geophysics, and finally cosmology. At every step, he focuses on the conceptual links that unify the scientific enterprise. Shorn of its mathematical complexity, that enterprise yields remarkable secrets--from the dynamics of continental drift to the structure of neutron stars--even to readers of ordinary intelligence and training. Perhaps even more important, Gribbin demystifies the process through which scientists come to know what they know, explaining with lucid examples the scientific method for constructing and testing new theories. It is a good thing that Gribbin provides a list of titles for further reading because readers will close this volume eager to explore the literature of science. --Bryce Christensen

Publisher's Weekly Review

Any book attempting to explain topics as diverse as the inner workings of atoms and the origin of the universe, as well as everything in between, is bound to be superficial. Gribbin's is that, but it is also informative, providing a knowing, if idiosyncratic, view of many of the major contemporary issues in science. Gribbin (In Search of Schr”dinger's Cat, etc.) has written "a guide not so much for fans of science and the cognoscenti but more a guide for the perplexedÄanyone who is vaguely aware that science is important, and might even be interesting, but is usually scared off by the technical detail." He begins by paying attention to the work of physicists and their view of the atom, moving sequentially to chemists, biologists, geologists, meteorologists, astronomers and cosmologists. Topics as diverse as the nature of chemical bonds, the structure of biological molecules, evolution, plate tectonics, the greenhouse effect, stellar evolution and the big bang all touched on. Throughout, Gribbin emphasizes fundamentals of science and of the scientific methodÄparticularly through the mantra, "if it disagrees with experiment it is wrong." Overall, this is a good bet for the would-be weekend scientist who favors breadth over depth and wants to know a lot in little time. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Scientific notationp. viii
Introduction: If it disagrees with experiment it is wrongp. 1
1 Atoms and elementsp. 9
2 Inside the atomp. 27
3 Particles and fieldsp. 48
4 Chemistryp. 66
5 Molecules of lifep. 85
6 Evolutionp. 104
7 Our changing planetp. 122
8 Winds of changep. 144
9 The Sun and its familyp. 162
10 The lives of the starsp. 183
11 The large and the smallp. 201
Further Readingp. 221
Indexp. 222