Synopses & Reviews
When we consider the Herculean figures on the long road to reason and the contributions they have made to our modern worldview, it is only natural to wonder what drove them, what led them to discover. Indeed, it makes us question the very meaning of discovery itself. In so many ways scientists and the natural philosophers who preceded them have much in common with artists, musicians, writers -- creators, forward thinkers and, often, rivals.
Rivalry is a reflection of humanity and as human culture has changed, so too has the guise of rivalry. In simpler times, scientists pitted their wits to reveal nature and sometimes also to expose what they believe to be falsity in their competitors. As science became public property it was used by the governments who represented entire nations. Beyond the tales of personal bitterness of some scientific rivalry we must consider what comes from these battlefields. And it seems the overwhelming effect has been to propel science forward. Be it a priority race, nationalistic fervor, personal hatred, or any combination of these, competition has done much to advance our understanding of the universe.
Acid Tongues and Tranquil Dreamers covers a long history of scientific rivalry, and encompasses a diverse collection of disciplines and rivalries (personal, national, and industrial). Whatever form it takes and however it may be transmogrified, rivalry exists in every lab, in every corner of the world, and in every age. It has spurred great minds on to world-altering breakthroughs in science and technology; in Acid Tongues and Tranquil Dreamers, Michael White illuminates the bitterness and the beauty, the genius and the humanity behind eight such breakthroughs.
About the Author
Michael White is a former science editor of British GQ, as well as previous Director of Scientific Studies at d'Overbroeck's college,Oxford. He is the author of hundreds of articles covering the cutting edge of science, as well as popular and classical music. A consultant for the Discovery Channel series "The Science of the Impossible," White is the author of a dozen books, including bestselling biographies of Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, and Isaac Asimov. He lives with his wife and daughter in London, England.