There are three stages in scientific discovery. First, people deny that it is true, then they deny that it is important; finally they credit the wrong person.
We know a lot about the world. For example, that it weighs about 5.97×1024 kg. But how do we know that?! You can’t just put it on a scale!
To answer this question (and many more), Bill Bryson interviewed a few scientists and uncovered the fascinating, brilliant, and often absurd history of modern science.