Soul Seeds

“As the nineteenth century drew to a close,” writes Bill Bryson in A Short History of Nearly Everything, “scientists could reflect with satisfaction that they had pinned down most of the mysteries of the physical world: electricity, magnetism, gases, optics, acoustics, kinetics, and statistical mechanics, to name just a few, all had fallen into order before them. They had discovered the X ray, the cathode ray, the electron, and radioactivity, invented the ohm, the watt, the Kelvin, the joule, the amp, and the little erg. If a thing could be oscillated, accelerated, perturbed, distilled, combined, weighed, or made gaseous they had done it, and in the process produced a body of universal laws so weighty and majestic that we still tend to write them out in capitals: the Electromagnetic Field Theory of Light, Richter’s Law of Reciprocal Proportions, Charles’s Law of Gases, the Law of Combining Volumes, the Zeroth…

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