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

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  129 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published June 13th 2006 by Palgrave Macmillan (first published January 1st 2006)
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Victoria Adams
Jun 06, 2015 Victoria Adams rated it it was amazing
As I unpack all those books we’ve had for years I find treasures that I meant to read but, well, never got around to. It’s like Christmas in my house these days. This title is one I probably acquired through a book club. It was purchased to answer a question an avid history nut, such as myself, finds perplexing – how do we know how to date things?
This is no easy question in the world of historical and archeological investigation. It gets even touchier when we talk about the age of the earth, the
...more
Angela
Chris Turney gives the fascinating historical background of some well known artifacts like the Shroud of Turin.
Harry Rutherford
Jul 31, 2008 Harry Rutherford rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Or to give it its fuller, more informative title: Bones Rocks and Stars: The Science of When Things Happened. It is what it sounds like: a brief (under 200 pages, including the index) overview of dating technologies for a general audience: radio isotope dating, dendrochronology, Antarctic ice cores and so on. And I enjoyed it; Turney writes well, and he whizzes through the material leaving me feeling a bit better-informed without it being too much like hard work. And I think that's pretty good g ...more
Steve Van Slyke
Nov 08, 2010 Steve Van Slyke rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Those just getting into science
Recommended to Steve by: Jerry Coyne: Why Evolution is True
I was expecting this to be more about the science behind dating techniques rather than about the events chosen to illustrate the method. However, it is more the reverse. So, for example, the chapter about the Shroud of Turin is more about the history and controversy surrounding the shroud than it is about the the radio-carbon isotope method used to finally accurately date it. And the same was true for the other examples chosen.

Be that as it may, it was still an interesting read, although it will
...more
Converse
Sep 05, 2011 Converse rated it liked it
Turney, a geologist, uses case studies to explore how events are dated. Topics such as whether or not the explosion of the volcano on the island of Thera destroyed Minoan Crete, when the Earth originated, whether or not the Shroud of Turin is a forgery, when King Arthur might have lived, and the extinction of the dinosaurs are discussed. The means of dating covered include dendrochronology (tree rings), carbon dating, other radioactive decay sequences such as potssium to argon and argon-argon, a ...more
Riina Ojanen
Nov 26, 2013 Riina Ojanen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
4.5 tähteä.

Chris Turneyn kirja iänmäärityksen tieteestä on nautittava ja helppolukuinen johdanto aiheeseen. Iänmääritystä käsitellään mielenkiintoisten case-tapausten kautta, ja mukana on niin kuningas Arthuria, komeettoja, Torinon kääreliinaa kuin dinosauruksiakin. Itse asiassa kirjan rakenne on hyvä. Asiakirjamääritysten kautta siirrytään hiljalleen kohti maasegmenttejä, puiden vuosirenkaita ja radiohiilitutkimusta, josta päästään aina vain uudempiin tekniikoihin. Itse case-tapausten lisäksi k
...more
Luis
Jan 26, 2013 Luis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-science
Se trata de un libro que introduce al lector en grandes momentos del pasado y en cómo la ciencia puede ayudarnos a conocer su antigüedad con la mayor exactitud, ya tenga nociones o no en esto de la datación científica.

Las preguntas que ofrece son sin duda interesantes: la veracidad de la Sábana Santa, del Rey Arturo, de las grandes extinciones, de la orientación de las pirámides de Keops... La exposición en ese sentido es buena. Donde sin duda el libro se despista bastante es a la hora de meters
...more
Todd Martin
Jul 19, 2008 Todd Martin rated it liked it
An interesting book which delves into the science of 'when' events occurred using techniques such as dendochronology, radiocarbon dating, argon dating, electron spin resonance dating and others.

Each chapter covers the dating of a different event including: construction of the Egyptian pyramids, the shroud of Turin, ice ages, and the migration of hominids out of Africa among others.

From a readability standpoint I'd have to say that some chapters are far more interesting than others. In fact the
...more
Wayne Stone
"Time is one of the greatest of all our obsessions (p. 1)." This is the first sentence and the author builds on it through the book. He gives a quick hitting scientific cause and effect of why and how scientific dating methods were developed and applied to solve problems of historical importance. Ultimately he concludes the book with the problem of dating the age of the earth and how that came about and its implications. In general, quick read, narrative and lots of interesting information about ...more
David Porter
Sep 19, 2012 David Porter rated it really liked it
Surveys pretty much all of the dating discipline, without going into too much detail about any one specific technique. Discusses why dating is important, uncertainties and limitations of each technique, a sampling of controversial theories as a result of different estimated ages, and how dating drives many of the largest disciplines (climatology, astronomy, evolution, anthropology, etc)
Anna
Oct 29, 2009 Anna rated it it was amazing
Super easy to read, and informative. A great book for anyone who wants a light shined on how different dating methods work. Written by a Brit so all the little allegorical stories are British (one is about a pop song), and all the measurements are metric, which kind of sucks... (how tall is 3 meters?) But other than that its great.
Tometheus
Feb 22, 2009 Tometheus rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, history
Good overview of different dating techniques for the layperson. I would have liked a little more detail personally, but I would definitely recommend it for non-physicists. My only real quibble was the chapter on King Arthur, which was more about literary criticism than hard science.
Scott
Apr 16, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book about what we know and how we know it. I got out of it exactly what I was hoping to - and also what I had been hoping for from Dawkins' Magic of Reality, which I found extremely disappointing.
Sara
Apr 16, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing
this book is pretty good. trying to ease myself back into an academic mindset. also, if you have any relatives that are younger, like in jr. high or so, i think this would be a good read to spur interest in science or history.

highly recommended. absolutely.
Marc
Apr 09, 2012 Marc rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-general
Why time is important as a scientific parameter; how is it measured or estimated? A great book for the interested non-scientist. Explains various ways that time can be measured and the disciplines that use or measure it.
Ben Hammond
Jun 21, 2014 Ben Hammond rated it really liked it
I found this book a very accessible and enjoyable account of the many different ways that scientists date ancient objects.
Sean
Feb 09, 2011 Sean rated it liked it
A very introductory book on various dating controversies. Good enough for what it is, but not for anyone who's at all familiar with anything scientific. It would be great for kids.
Leann
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Feb 12, 2011
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