2006 02 07 a Short History of Nearly Everything


I’ve always had a fascination with science. If I remember back to my Kindergarden years my plan at the time was to become a chemist. I think it was just the cool instruments and lots of dangerous chemicals.

I’m about half-way through Bill Bryson’s book A Short History of Nearly Everything and it’s just amazing. I’m sure it’s far too watered down for anyone truly studying the sciences, but the analogies make things a bit more understandable for my feeble brain.

Ex. If an atom were expanded to the size of a cathedral, the nucleus would be only about the size of fly, but a fly many thousands of times heaver than the cathedral.

In the days of diving suits that were connected to surface by long hoses divers would sometimes experience ‘the squeeze’. When the surface pumps failed, the air would leave the suite with such violence that the diver would literally be sucked into the helmet and hosepipe. All that was left in the suit were ‘bones and some rags of flesh’.

It’s amazing to realize how everything is under a slow motion. The fact that glass is actually viscous and is slowly being pulled down by gravity. Very old glass found in ancient cathedrals is noticeably thicker at the bottom of the pane.

Every time I open the book I find my brain aching a bit trying to comprehend the hugeness and smallness of the world. It’s a good pain, its good to stretch the brain muscle.