Andrew Adonis unveils Bill Bryson-RSC scheme to inspire schools science

07 June 2005

New schools minister Andrew Adonis has today launched a Royal Society of Chemistry scheme - worked out with author Bill Bryson - to provide every secondary school in  Britain with a free copy of his book A Short History of Nearly Everything.

Lord Adonis (centre) and Bill Bryson talk to pupils from Kingsbury School, Brent, London

Lord Adonis (centre) and Bill Bryson talk to pupils from Kingsbury School, Brent, London

Lord Adonis (centre) and Bill Bryson talk to pupils from Kingsbury School, Brent, London

The best-selling writer was at the RSC's  London offices participating in the Society's initiative to mail his book, a worldwide best-seller, to every secondary school head teacher.

Andrew Adonis, who invited Bill Bryson to present a group of youngsters with the book, which has to date sold two million copies in the UK alone, said: "I welcome this initiative by Bill Bryson to make science more accessible for children. Science doesn't have to be hard - and this book is a good example of science being made simple and fun to learn. I hope it will motivate and encourage more children to take up science and deliver the scientists of the future."   

Bill Bryson joined RSC staff and pupils from a  North London school at Burlington House to launch the 'books-for-schools' plan. With them was the renowned drug discovery scientist Dr Simon Campbell, President of the RSC who said today:

"We are delighted that Bill and the minister have offered to back our plans to promote science in schools in this new way. Teenagers, indeed adults, reading his book cannot fail to be startled and entertained by every unfolding and awe-inspiring revelation about the universe. We hope youngsters who lift it off about 6000 library shelves will be more attracted to studying science, which is vital for the future of the  UK."   

Dr Campbell added: "Today's initiative is an exciting contribution to our campaign for chemistry which we hope will stimulate renewed interest in secondary level science since the Government has placed science, engineering and technology at the heart of its political and economic strategy."  

A Short History of Nearly Everything has rendered science more understandable and accessible to a massive international audience of all backgrounds and age groups. 

The book's success led the Royal Society of Chemistry to approach Bill Bryson in January for help in projecting the importance of science to society. Subsequently the author offered to donate his royalties from the 6,000 books to science education and shortly afterwards publishers Transworld offered a generous discount to the RSC. 

The Royal Society of Chemistry is to pay for mailing and administrative costs of sending the book to every secondary school library via head teachers by the end of the academic year. 

Dr Campbell added: "Before Bill became involved with the RSC I had already read A Short History of Nearly Everything and like countless others considered it a tour-de-force, by which the wonders of science were made understandable thanks to an alliance of clear language and astonishing detail. For a non-scientist to have produced a work as startlingly potent as this is a major achievement for which Mr Bryson deserves every public plaudit he has received.

"Now we trust that head teachers will ensure that A Short History of Nearly Everything is made available to all pupils via their libraries and we hope it will generate interest and excitement and will inspire a new generation of scientists." 

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