Through a whole series of unfortunate events Catherine and I didn't have a chance to read until about 8 pm last night. That's a half hour before her bedtime and not enough time to spend with The Elements: A Short Introduction or to start The Last Battle (we finished The Silver Chair last night).
Instead I picked up this book (Quantum Leaps by John Balchin):
I bought it a couple of weeks ago at the local used bookstore and have been wanting to read it ever since. It's the perfect book for short reads, containing two-pages on each scientist, philosopher or natural philosopher and goes from Anaximander to Tim Berners-Lee.
This was definitely a good read. The entries are really well written and offer just enough information to whet your appetite for more. It reinforced things Catherine had already touched on and I watched as she lit up with a smile when we were reading about Democritus and his atoms and when there was a reference to the periodic tab and Mendeleev in the Plato entry. There's nothing like wandering through what you think is foreign territory and suddenly seeing something familiar. That experience also reflects what seems to be an emerging theme of the book, not only who these people were and what they did but how their ideas and discoveries continue to shape how we think about things.
Definitely a great find and a fun resource.
NOTE: I'm sort of thinking about Origin of the Species for our next science read. I haven't read it, want to and now prefer reading out loud to reading silently (Maybe I'm an ancient Roman at heart). Has anyone out there read it to their kids (between say ages 8 and 11)? Did they enjoy it or was it just a lot of eyerolling on their part?