This book invites you for a dizzying journey through the history of scientific and technical achievements. Using a vast number of examples, James Burke ties together seemingly unrelated things in the most astonishing manner showing how century-old discoveries lead to the modern light-bulb moments.
From Versailles fountaines to carburetors, from spices to an atomic bomb, from shaving blades to quasar, the author spines a mesmerizing logical web of connections between objects, events, and mankind achievements. The present volume will be a perfect read for anyone interested in science.
Each of the twenty chapter-journeys in this book reveals a different aspect of how the web is constructed and how the extraordinary pinball proces of change occurs. Sometimes the simplest act will have cosmic repercussions a hundred years later. On other occasions, the most cataclysmic events will finally lead to ordinary, even humdrum results.
In every case, the journeys presented here follow unexpected paths, because that’s how life happens. We strike out on a course only to find it altered by the action of another person, somewhere else in space and time. As a result, the world in which we live today is the end-product of millions of these kinds of serendipitous interactions, happening over thousands of years.
From introduction by J. Burke