I first came across Bill Bryson while browsing the interwebs and stumbled upon this quote from his book, A Short History of Nearly Everything.
“To begin with, for you to be here now trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you. It’s an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once. For the next many years (we hope) these tiny particles will uncomplainingly engage in all the billions of deft, cooperative efforts necessary to keep you intact and let you experience the supremely agreeable but generally underappreciated state known as existence.”
Pretty powerful stuff, huh?
I read the first few pages on Amazon and immediately put the book into my cart and hit the purchase button. This is the type of book EVERYONE needs to get their hands on to simply get a better understanding of our universe and how we have ended up where we are now.
I learned that the universe is vast and our brains cannot comprehend infinity. Atoms are made up of more atoms that are made up of more atoms.. they have no end either.
Japan is laid upon three tectonic plates, which is why they have so many earthquakes and is a country just “waiting to die.”
The first dinosaur bones were discovered in America but the person who found them didn’t know what they were so he threw them into a closet to later have someone say “hey, these are reminisce of creatures that roamed the earth for millions of years so let’s get them out of this closet you fool” (maybe not exactly like that, but you get the gist).
I learned what oort clouds were, why geysers are cool AF, and that a comet the size of a house can hit earth and the impact would be so powerful that we, along with everything else on this planet, would die.
I wanted to share a few more of my favourite quotes from Bryson’s book and I hope you too become as fascinated with the history of our universe as I am now. SCIENCE IS COOL!
“The average species on Earth lasts for only about four million years, so if you wish to be around for billions of years, you must be as fickle as the atoms that made you.”
“We live in a universe whose age we can’t compute, surrounded by stars whose distances we don’t altogether know, filled with matter we can’t identify, operating in conformance with physical laws whose properties we don’t truly understand.”
“It is easy to overlook this thought that life just is. As humans we are inclined to feel that life must have a point. We have plans and aspirations and desires. We want to take constant advantage of all the intoxicating existence we’ve been endowed with.”
“We have arrived at this position of eminence in a stunningly short time. Behaviourally modern human beings-that is, people who can speak and make art and organize complex activities-have existed for only about 0.0001 percent of Earth’s history. But surviving for even that a little while has required a nearly endless string of good fortune.”
Those who read this book love it. Thanks for the quotes: they really get you thinking…
I highly recommend! It’s a large book, but every chapter is well worth a read.
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Just an FYI, Bryson never wrote anything suggesting: “Atoms are made up of more atoms that are made up of more atoms.. they have no end either.” Atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Electrons are considered a fundamental particle while protons and neutrons are made up of other fundamental particles, called quarks. The substructure of fundamental particles has not yet been revealed empirically, but theoretical models suggest they are essentially the end of the line (thus the use of the term “fundamental”). Theoretical models do not predict the Russian doll scenario of never ending particles. Just thought I’d make that clear as you seem like someone who is genuinely interested in the subject matter and would not want to walk around spreading false understandings.
I agree that Bryson’s book is great. If you really loved it, I highly recommend downloading “Big History” on Audible.
Ah! I don’t know how your comment got lost in the shuffle. Thank you for the clarification!