Synopses & Reviews
These irresistible stories reveal the little-known byways of scientific progress, where setbacks and mishaps are the norm, breakthroughs are the exception, and advances meant to improve people's lives can spectacularly backfire. Meticulously researched by the internationally acclaimed New Scientist magazine, these stories are an inspiring reminder of how the most unpromising lines of enquiry can sometimes, against all the odds, lead to brilliant results.
Stephanie Pain is a consultant for New Scientist with a PhD in deep-ocean biology. She created and for ten years edited New Scientist's popular "Histories" column.
"Culled from the 'Histories' section of New Scientist journal, editor Pain offers tales of accidental discoveries, inventions too far ahead of their time, and near misses in scientific research. A gas-powered radio that also added warmth to a room never found its niche, nor was Mark Twain's investment in automatic typesetting a success. But not all the accounts are discouraging: in the 18th century, British surgeon John Hunter discovered a way to save the lives and legs of coachmen with aneurysms; and an exercise in reforestation that destroyed native plants also created a surprise rain forest. Covering all realms of science from the distant past up to the present, these stories fascinate, amuse, and occasionally turn the stomach. The tales of medical innovations are particularly fascinating the idea of infecting cancer victims with diseases that cause high fevers seems insane but in some cases, it worked. Researchers today believe that this is because the fever triggered the immune system. These absorbing articles make one consider that some of these ideas deserve a second look; and for those who were worried, Buckley was not in his pants when they exploded. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The all-but-forgotten heroes and highlights of everyday science
About the Author
Stephanie Pain is a consultant for New Scientist with a PhD in deep-ocean biology. She created and for ten years edited New Scientist's popular 'Histories' column.