Author(s): Brian Clegg
Essential Science aims to be the most detailed, accessible and authoritative book of its kind. Each of the 34 discoveries is broken down into seven essential elements to aid comprehension and inform the reader about what really matters: THE ESSENTIAL IDEA: a concise summary of the idea or discovery that makes complex ideas as simple as possible.
ORIGINS: where does the discovery come from, who made it and how does it fit in the wider scientific context?
KEY THEORIES AND EVIDENCE: even our most familiar ideas and discoveries are far from 'common sense'. How do we know what we know? What is the evidence? What are the dominant theories?
CRITICS: science is a constant process of criticism and revision. How have various ideas survived attempts to discredit them? How secure is our knowledge and is it complete?
WHY IT MATTERS: how important is the discovery in the wider scientific context? How much has it reshaped our perception of reality?
FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS: what remains to be discovered? Might even dominant ideas and discoveries be superseded by better ones?
THE ESSENTIAL SUMMARY: a visual outline of all the key insights from the above analytical headings. The consistent structure not only breaks down complex topics into simple, easy to understand chunks, but also helps readers to think for themselves about the process of scientific discovery, testing and progress, showing that science is not just a set of ideas to be learned, but a never-ending process that is constantly reshaping our perception of reality.