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  • Summary

  • Sunday Times best-selling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson, teams up with The Science Museum to celebrate the ideas and inventions of the incurably curious.

    Across this five-episode series, Bill Bryson, with the help of The Science Museum's curators, takes us object-by-object through some of the museum's lesser known inventions and discoveries - and the human stories behind them.

    Discover how a teenage inventor, a pig's head, a lump of plywood and a famous British record label made medical history or how some inventions simply happen by accident. This 'museum for your ears' looks at how experimentation, competition, hard work and a desire to change our lives for the better have contributed to the progress of mankind.

    This is an Audible Original Podcast. Free for members. You can download all 5 episodes to your Library now.

    ©2017 Audible, Ltd. (P)2017 Audible, Ltd.
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Episodes
  • Feb 27 2018

    An object that helped create the first map of Britain and one at the forefront of climate-change research. Bill tells the stories of the Great Theodolite that was used on the principle triangulation of Britain, and AATSR (Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer) that measures the temperature of the sea from space.

    Both objects tell a story about why collaboration is so important in the field of scientific discovery from the teams that put together the first maps to the international fight against climate change. He is joined in this episode by Alex Rose, curator of Earth Sciences at the Science Museum.

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    16 mins
  • Feb 27 2018
    Bill tells the story of the Italian Navy Detector that was devised by a humble scientist, Jagadish Chandra Bose, who could be regarded as one of India's greatest minds. And the more famous, Guillermo Marconi, and his quest to invent the Marconi Short-Wave Beam Transmitter. He is joined by John Liffen, the Science Museum's Curator of Communications.
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    22 mins
  • Feb 27 2018
    Bill is joined by David Rooney, the Science Museum's Curator of Time, Navigation and Transport, who tells the story of the John Harrison Clock and the inventor's quest to solve the longitude problem.
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    14 mins

What listeners say about Bill Bryson's Appliance of Science

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Good exploration of objects in the Science museum.

Similar in style to Neil MacGregor's History of the world in 100 objects, which examined artefacts in the British museum, this is equally entertaining. Led by the ever listenable Bill Bryson, these examine and explain objects in the Science museum. Shame there are currently only five episodes - more please audible!!

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Very interesting

Not much more to say than the title sorry, so sprouts, potatoes, carrots to fill the requiremt

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fascinating stuff

I know bill from his travelling books, but this was totally different. once I got used to the fact that he didnt sound the way I always imagined I thoroughly enjoyed it

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  • Z.
  • 07-11-20

What is the background music for ?

Cannot stand background music in educational programs. And, I am sorry , but Bill Bryson's voice is quite irritating. Like he is got some kind of speach impediment.

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A museum for the ears

Micro biographies and fun-filled facts about scientific inventions with a human story - often featuring unintended discoveries by ordinary people. The curators are very good at visualising the artefacts and Bryson does what Bryson does best - be his inquisitive good self. My favourite description was "it looks like a toaster that swallowed a donut". You'll have to listen to discover what it was...

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Very interesting.

Some really interesting information in these episodes.
Although I must admit, I do find Bill Bryson's voice a little dull.

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nice sized bites of interesting information.

love Bill Bryson books... this one described interesting items with the usual humour that we have come to expect from his books.

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a museum in your ears indeed

an intriguing review and history of some typically overlooked objects at a number of museums

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interesting

an interesting short five chapters ,even though I didn't understand all of it I did see the relevance to our everyday lives

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For those already interested in inventions

I personally enjoyed it thoroughly, and it's whet my appetite to go visit the Science Museum once this pandemic clears up.

But the subjects scrutinised are a wide ranging, eclectic collection of gizmos. If that description doesn't already fall into your interests, I'm not sure if this collection is for you.

Other than that - I cannot fault the narration, nor the experts' input.

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  • Gabriela
  • 28-04-20

Very interesting

It was very instructive and left me wanting to know about more objects from this museum.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Betsy Fowler
  • 29-04-20

Tour of obscure scientific objects

This book is nicely written and narrated by Bill Bryson, with guest appearances by various curators at London's Science Museum. However, it is nearly impossible to follow this without images, so one comes away without any clear idea of how each object actually works.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-04-20

A frustrating listening experience

The files within this book do not play in order. After every chapter I was returned to the beginning of that chapter or the beginning of the book altogether. Also, each chapter seems to end rather abruptly.

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  • ActiveCustomer
  • 16-04-20

Worth the time

There are some good stories in the series. These narration at times made it a bit tough to listen for too long.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-11-19

Overall A Good Series

Overall this is a nice little series. I did expect it to peak my interest more than it did, I think some episodes felt rushed. With that said I quite enjoyed the medical installment and the quality of production.

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  • RC
  • 28-04-19

Good subjects but hate the editing style

Great subjects but the style of presentation is distracting. The odd editing style was distracting.

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  • LadyJac10
  • 23-01-22

Can’t wait for more

I love the idea of a listening museum. So of the more technical (electronic) items were a bit much for me to envision and understand on the first listen, but I was fascinated now me-the-less.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-04-21

Loved It!

Bill Bryson has never failed to entertain me in print and now on audio. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

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  • Kevin
  • 05-12-20

Entertaining and enlightening

Just as it promises, these episodes bring you a glimpse into the scientific world in a very creative way. Science can be hard to understand without visual models, but with this series, Bill Bryson has succeeded in painting the mental pictures you need to understand the content. I will be checking out his other work and books as well.

Thank you Bill Bryson, as well as those who helped him produce this podcast. I plan to be a loyal listener!

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  • Lisa Noyes
  • 01-05-20

This should be called “The History of British Science and Engineering.”

This should be called “The History of British Science and Engineering.”

It was entirely historical with nothing recent, and that was not clear from the name or description.