Most of us are ignorant about the fundamental principles of the civilization that supports us, happily utilizing the latest - or even the most basic - technology without having the slightest idea of why it works or how it came to be. If you had to go back to absolute basics, like some sort of postcataclysmic Robinson Crusoe, would you know how to re-create an internal combustion engine, put together a microscope, get metals out of rock, accurately tell time, weave fibers into clothing, or even how to produce food for yourself?
Regarded as one of the brightest young scientists of his generation, Lewis Dartnell proposes that the key to preserving civilization in an apocalyptic scenario is to provide a quickstart guide, adapted to cataclysmic circumstances. The Knowledge describes many of the modern technologies we employ, but first it explains the fundamentals upon which they are built. Every piece of technology rests on an enormous support network of other technologies, all interlinked and mutually dependent. You can't hope to build a radio, for example, without understanding how to acquire the raw materials it requires, as well as generate the electricity needed to run it.
But Dartnell doesn't just provide specific information for starting over; he also reveals the greatest invention of them all - the phenomenal knowledge-generating machine that is the scientific method itself. This would allow survivors to learn technological advances not explicitly explored in The Knowledge as well as things we have yet to discover. The Knowledge is a brilliantly original guide to the fundamentals of science and how it built our modern world as well as a thought experiment about the very idea of scientific knowledge itself.
©2014 Lewis Dartnell (P)2014 Tantor
Although this book started out slow, I was more impressed with the book the further I got into it. It discusses the basic chemistry behind technologies such as glass, steel, acids, heating, foods, clothing, photography, metal working, medicine, etc., etc. It is a "what if" scenario of what would happen if there were a nuclear holocaust and the survivors needed to concoct basic technologies. The author draws upon the works of others to build a book which truly challenges the scientific knowledge of readers.
I love tech and engineering. This book taught me how things work from the ground up (literally). The basic knowledge in here should be required reading for any serious student of the universe.
The narrator was ok but occasionally got on my nerves. I've yet to hear a great non fiction narration - maybe it's not possible. The book is clearly explained but still a bit dense for audio. I plan on listening several times as well as purchasing for my bookshelf.
Husband, father of 2, and a software developer moving slowly and unsteadily into management. I love reading, especially fiction & history
This is an extremely engaging read filled with information I never even thought of before. I'd really like to turn some of this information into science experiments for my children. I can't recommend this book enough even if you only have a passing interest in the science that underpins our world.
To use this for the intended purpose, a hard copy is obviously needed. The audio book is a great overview. It puts a large amount of knowledge into your head in an organized and surprisingly interesting way.
It was dry at times, but I am sure it will come come in handy after the upcoming zombie apocalypse.
Provides a good theoretical background for understanding many technologies we overlook and take for granted in our everyday lives sufficiently that it could be reinvented more easily by experimentation were it to be lost, presented in order of necessity/utility to a recovering civilization, but also quite relevant to better understanding and appreciating our society's technological infrastructure.
I've learned things about our world I never knew and absolutely love this book. I recommend this for anyone!
Worthy of everyone's time! Great text for all high schools. I'll read again to retain more of this. I highly recommend!
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