Peter Whitfield looks at the evolution of scientific knowledge, starting with an introduction to Sir Isaac Newton’s “natural philosophy” and continuing with ancient astronomy and cave paintings, genomes and psychoanalysis. He covers a lot of ground briefly and quickly. At times, his narration can be dry while at other times his lively interest in “the intellectual quest to study our world” can be heard in his voice. His measured British tones, coupled with the formality of his writing, lend authority to the historical account. While this is an overview of the basics, Whitfield’s material is thorough and well researched, making it a good introduction to scientific thought as it has changed through the ages.