Synopses & Reviews
Drawing on the lives of five great scientists, this and#8220;scholarly, insightful, and beautifully written bookand#8221; (Martin Rees, author of andlt;Iandgt;From Here to Infinityandlt;/Iandgt;) illuminates the path to scientific discovery.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Charles Darwin, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Linus Pauling, Fred Hoyle, and Albert Einstein all made groundbreaking contributions to their fieldsand#8212;but each also stumbled badly. Darwinand#8217;s theory of natural selection shouldnand#8217;t have worked, according to the prevailing beliefs of his time. Lord Kelvin gravely miscalculated the age of the earth. Linus Pauling, the worldand#8217;s premier chemist, constructed an erroneous model for DNA in his haste to beat the competition to publication. Astrophysicist Fred Hoyle dismissed the idea of a and#8220;Big Bangand#8221; origin to the universe (ironically, the caustic name he gave to this event endured long after his erroneous objections were disproven). And Albert Einstein speculated incorrectly about the forces of the universeand#8212;and that speculation opened the door to brilliant conceptual leaps. As Mario Livio luminously explains in this and#8220;thoughtful meditation on the course of science itselfand#8221; (andlt;Iandgt;The New York Times Book Reviewandlt;/Iandgt;), these five scientists expanded our knowledge of life on earth, the evolution of the earth, and the evolution of the universe, despite and because of their errors.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;and#8220;Thoughtful, well-researched, and beautifully writtenand#8221; (andlt;Iandgt;The Washington Postandlt;/Iandgt;), andlt;Iandgt;Brilliant Blunders andlt;/Iandgt;is a wonderfully insightful examination of the psychology of five fascinating scientistsand#8212;and the mistakes as well as the achievements that made them famous.
About the Author
Mario Livio is an internationally known astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). He is the author of andlt;i andgt;The Golden Ratioandlt;/iandgt;, a highly acclaimed book for which he received the International Pythagoras Prize and the Peano Prize; andlt;i andgt;The Equation That Couldnand#8217;t Be Solvedandlt;/iandgt;; the national bestseller andlt;i andgt;Brilliant Blundersandlt;/iandgt;; and andlt;i andgt;The Accelerating Universeandlt;/iandgt;. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.