Bones, Rocks and Stars: The Science Of When Things Happened

Paperback | December 26, 2007

byChris Turney

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Understanding how we pinpoint the past is crucial to putting the present in perspective and planning for the future. Now, for the first time, journalist and geologist Chris Turney explains to the non-specialist exactly how archaeologists, paleontologists, and geologists "tell the time". Each chapter explores one famous event or object from the past, walking readers step by step through the detective work used to determine when things happened. From the Ice Age to the pyramids, from human evolution to the Shroud of Turin, Turney reveals how written records, carbon, pollen, constellations, DNA sequencing, and more all play a part in solving the mystery of the true age of objects and events. As we struggle to manage current environmental threats and conservation troubles, we ignore or misunderstand these techniques and their results at our peril.

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Understanding how we pinpoint the past is crucial to putting the present in perspective and planning for the future. Now, for the first time, journalist and geologist Chris Turney explains to the non-specialist exactly how archaeologists, paleontologists, and geologists "tell the time". Each chapter explores one famous event or object ...

Chris Turney did the radiocarbon dating on the recent "Hobbit" fossil and is a geologist at the University of Exeter, UK.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 7.33 × 5.52 × 0.54 inPublished:December 26, 2007Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230551947

ISBN - 13:9780230551947

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Customer Reviews of Bones, Rocks and Stars: The Science Of When Things Happened

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exciting Cases Illustrating How Science Works In eleven thrilling chapters, the author discusses various methods by which items and events from the (extremely distant to not-so-distant) past can be dated. The limitations and uncertainties associated with each method are also touched upon. Each chapter presents a different topic, all real-life cases and some of which the author has actively participated in. The author has been very successful in conveying to the reader the methods by which science works and the excitement involved in scientific discovery. The writing style is clear, friendly, authoritative and very accessible. In fact, as a physicist, I probably would have explained the physics of a few things a bit differently and given more details; but then, this may have been at a cost – a loss in momentum and excitement for the general reader. So, clearly, this is a book that can be enjoyed by anyone, especially those interested in the scientific method.
Date published: 2008-07-10

Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
List of Permissions and Figure Sources
Acknowledgements
Introduction
The Ever-changing Calendar
A hero in a dark age
The Forged Cloth of Turin
The Pyramids and the Bear's Groin
The Volcano that Shook Europe
The Mandate from Heaven
The Coming of the Ice
The Lost Worlds
And Then there was One
The Hole in the Ground
Towards the Limits of Time
Epilogue: Time's up for Creationism
Further Reading
Index

Editorial Reviews

"If you like detective stories, you'll love this book. It should satisfy the hungriest of infovores."--New Scientist"absorbing...will appeal to a wide audience, particularly those who got a kick out of Blink or Freakonomics." --Publishers Weekly"A fabulous, entertainingly written account of the amazing science behind calendars, dates and dating objects. Essential reading for anyone interested in prehistory." Professor Tim Flannery, Director of the South Australian Museum"A rollicking run through the story of telling the time - lively and well-researched, with many fascinating stories." Professor Michael Benton, author of When Life Nearly Died"This delightful introduction successfully fuses history, prehistory and earth science. It captures the imagination from its first page, and then takes the reader on a fun and fact-filled world tour through the past."-- Professor Tim White, University of California at Berkeley"What I like best about the book: It's a scientist clearly explaining what he does for a living and why it is important, at a level that any literate person can understand. Not an easy accomplishment." --scienceblogs.com/pharyngula"5/5: a book that tackles [these] issues is welcome indeed--that it succeeds so brilliantly is a wonderful surprise." --Peter Andrews of the Natural History Museum, BBC Focus Magazine"Well researched and covers a lot of ground in a splendidly personal style. Highly recommended" --Quaternary Australasia