The Origin of (Almost) Everything

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The Origin of (almost) Everything is a popular science book by Graham Lawton which covers the origin of over 50 different things, from the universe and atoms to dogs and penicillin.


Always eager to learn more about science, I started listening to this as an audio book.


I don't own this book, but I've listened to the audio book.



  • As the title suggests, the author described the origin of a myriad of things.
  • The book dispels several common myths about the history of science and technology. For example, the Wright brothers didn't build the first powered aircraft, and Alexander Fleming, though he discovered it, wasn't responsible for making penicillin a medicine.


  • Some of the origins don't go into nearly enough depth. For example, in the chapter on the origin of the universe, the author explains that quantum mechanics teaches us that the universe has a net value of zero, and that "nothing" is unstable, and always breaks into something. This is presented without any evidence or data to back it up.
  • There are occasional claims that sound very suspect. For example, in the section on possessions, the author claims that animals don't keep possessions, not because they're not intelligent enough to do so, but because they don't have language. No evidence given for why a highly intelligent animal without language couldn't keep possessions, or why all animals with language must keep possessions.


  • Nothing.



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