A Little History of Science
Yale University Press (Inbooks), $32.95 hb, 269 pp, 9780300136593
Did you know that the Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space; or that Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3) came from India; or that Descartes thought up letters (a, b, c, and x) for use in algebra; or that William Bateson coined the word ‘genetics’? Did you know that there are five million trillion trillion bacteria on earth – give or take a few?Every few pages William Bynum gives you a choice factoid that’s Quite Interesting – as long as you remember to write it down straight away before it fades. Reading this Little History right through is like sitting in a Chinese restaurant with one of those long menus and ordering a portion of everything listed. Quite soon discrimination fades and the march of history seems relentless.