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Whether you know absolutely nothing about a subject and are embarking on your first steps, or you are already familiar with the world the Little History describes, these are the most energetic, entertaining and reliable guides you will find.

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A Little History of Science, by
William Bynum

Published: September 1, 2012

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UK, Europe and Rest of World

| Paperback 

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North America

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As today’s science make giant leaps of discovery, A Little History of Science boils down its long and complex history and links together its many different fields to tell the greatest story on earth. From the first civilisations who looked up at the stars and down at the ground, to present-day telescopes exploring the deepest depths of space and computers deciphering the building blocks of life, Bill Bynum effortlessly explains the discoveries and developments that have transformed the world and how we understand it. More than that, he also delves into the lives and passions of the amazing people who made it all happen.

But do you know your Einstein from your elbow?

Match these giants of science (A-F) to what they’re most famous for (1-6). Answers at the bottom of the page.

A  Marie Curie
B  Isaac Newton
C  Tim Berners-Lee
D  Galileo
E  William Harvey
F  James Watson and Francis Crick

1  Showed that the earth travels around the sun, not the other way around
2  First described the circulation of blood round the human body
3  Explained how forces like gravity affect moving objects, such as an apple falling from a tree
4  Discovered the element radium and radioactivity
5  Revealed the structure of DNA
6  Invented the World Wide Web

These are just a handful of the hundreds of remarkable scientists that you can find out about in our A Little History of Science – a bookful of ‘Eurekas!’


Answers: A4, B3, C6, D1, E2, F5

Some reviews

A Little History of Science delivers a far heavier punch than its modest title would suggest. Ranging from Babylon to bosons, from astrology to astrophysics, this chatty account for teenagers covers not only the world of science but also the scientific history of the world. To enjoy this book you need know nothing about history and little about science.’  Patricia Fara, History Today

‘Beginning with the Babylonians and ending with the World Wide Web, Bynum manages to squeeze in nearly every essential scientific idea and discovery while also discussing most major disciplines … I happily confess I learned a lot.’  Andrew Robinson, New Scientist

‘This freshest entry in Yale’s youngster-friendly Little History series covers science from Babylonian astronomy to the Human Genome Project and the Higgs Boson, in a series of lucid short chapters on telescopes, gases, engines, planetary orbits, cells, magnetism, pneumatic chemistry, continental drift and so forth. The author is particularly interesting on the history of medicine (his own field) … and he shows a gentle tolerant humour throughout.’  Steven Poole, Guardian

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About the author

William Bynum is Emeritus Professor of the History of Medicine, UCL, London. He is author or editor of numerous publications, including most recently Great Discoveries in Medicine.

More about William Bynum

About the illustrator

Tom grew up in rural Yorkshire, close to the same ‘wild and windy moors’ familiar from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, which meant that his family home was always filled with stories – especially ghostly ones.

More about Tom Duxbury