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.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.
"We might be screwed, but... science!"
The study of life and its existence in the universe, known as astrobiology, is now one of the hottest areas of both popular science and serious academic research, fusing biology, chemistry, astrophysics, and geology. Lewis Dartnell tours its latest findings, and explores some of the most fascinating questions in science. Could life emerge on other planets or moons? Could alien cells be based on silicon rather than carbon, or need ammonia instead of water?
Maybe it was a viral pandemic or an asteroid strike or perhaps nuclear war. Whatever the cause, the world as we know it has ended, and you and the other survivors must start again. What key knowledge would you need to start rebuilding civilisation from scratch? Once you’ve scavenged what you can, how do you begin producing the essentials? How do you grow food, generate power, prepare medicines, or get metal out of rocks? Could you avert another Dark Ages or take shortcuts to accelerate redevelopment?