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Last Updated: Monday, 6 June, 2005, 23:15 GMT 00:15 UK
Writer Bryson aids school science
Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson's science book has sold two million copies
Author Bill Bryson is to send a free copy of his best-selling science book - A Short History of Nearly Everything - to every secondary school in Britain.

The government is backing the scheme, aimed at reversing the decline in interest in subjects like physics and chemistry among students.

Schools Minister Lord Adonis said it would "motivate and encourage".

The book, which sold two million copies in the UK, deals with subjects like the "big bang" and civilisation's origins.

'Fun to learn'

Last year, A Short History of Nearly Everything won the Royal Society Aventis Prize for science.

Lord Adonis said: "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."

The Royal Society of Chemistry is helping to pay the costs and its president, Dr Simon Campbell, said: "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 6,000 library shelves will be more attracted to studying science, which is vital for the future of the UK."

Last year, there were 28,698 entries for physics A-level, down from 31,500 in 2002.

Lord Adonis said a package of incentives to recruit more science teachers would be announced on Thursday.

He added: "At the end of the day, what really matters in schools is having excellent science teaching.

"Books and all that are very important but without the teachers you can't make anything of them."

Mr Bryson, a US-born journalist, became chancellor of Durham University in April. He is best known for his quirky travel writing, including Notes from a Small Island.

Science degree 'boosts earnings'
02 Feb 05 |  Education
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05 Jan 05 |  Science/Nature

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