If any of my science teachers at school had anything like the enthusiasm or insight of Bill Bryson, I’d probably be working for a pharmaceuticals company by now (thank goodness). In a Short History of Nearly Everything he explains how we think the universe, the earth and humans became the way they are. Just as interestingly he tells us the process we went through to find it. For example, he tells us of the first evidence of hereditary traits, which particular monk made the experiment, the various scientists that ignored it for decades and the particular guy who tried to pass it off as his own work after the monk had died.
If you are somebody’s dad, you will love this book. It will give you lifetimes of historical quips and scientific information; enough to bore several offspring well into their teens. I am not somebody’s dad (cat’s don’t count as they don’t care about volcanos and quantum physics) and I loved it. It’s also very amusingly written, in the usual Bill Bryson style.
Use it as a way of identifying things that interest you and go do some further reading.