The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors

By John Gribbin

A perfectly readable account of scientific improvement during the last five hundred years, targeting the lives and achievements of person scientists, via the bestselling writer of In seek of Schrödinger’s Cat

In this formidable new publication, John Gribbin tells the tales of the folks who've made technological know-how, and of the days within which they lived and labored. He starts off with Copernicus, in the course of the Renaissance, whilst technology changed mysticism as a way of explaining the workings of the area, and he keeps throughout the centuries, growing an unbroken family tree of not just the best but in addition the extra vague names of Western technological know-how, a dot-to-dot line linking beginner to genius, and unintended discovery to wonderful deduction.

By targeting the scientists themselves, Gribbin has written an anecdotal narrative enlivened with tales of non-public drama, good fortune and failure. A bestselling technological know-how author with a world recognition, Gribbin is likely one of the few authors who might even try a piece of this significance. Praised as “a series of witty, information-packed stories” and “a terrifi c learn” by The Times upon its contemporary British booklet, The Scientists breathes new existence into such venerable icons as Galileo, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Linus Pauling, in addition to lesser lighting whose tales were undeservedly ignored. packed with pioneers, visionaries, eccentrics and madmen, this can be the heritage of technology because it hasn't ever been advised before.

From the Hardcover edition.

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In a far-sighted element of the e-book he competently identifies fossils because the continues to be of once-living creatures and crops. at the moment, there has been a frequent trust that those stones that gave the impression of residing issues have been simply that - rocks, which, via a few mysterious technique, mimicked the looks of lifestyles. yet Hooke crushingly brushed off the inspiration that fossils have been ‘Stones form’d through a few awesome Plastick advantage latent within the Earth itself,’ and argued persuasively (referring to the items referred to now as ammonites) that they have been ‘the Shells of convinced Shelfishes, which, both by means of a few Deluge, Inundation, Earthquake, or a few such different capacity, got here to be thrown to that position, and there to be jam-packed with a few type of dust or clay, or petrifying water, or another substance, which in tract of time has been settled jointly and hardened. ’ In lectures given at Gresham collage round this time, yet now not released till after his demise, Hooke additionally particularly famous that this implied significant variations within the floor of the Earth. ‘Parts which were sea at the moment are land,’ he acknowledged, and ‘mountains were became plains, and plains into mountains, and so on. ’ Any of this might were adequate to make Hooke recognized and enjoyment readers equivalent to Samuel Pepys. yet there has been extra to Micrographia than microscopy. Hooke studied the character of the colored styles produced by means of skinny layers of fabric (such because the colors of an insect’s wing, or the rainbow development widespread this present day from oil or petrol spilled on water), and recommended that it used to be brought on by a few type of interference among mild mirrored from the 2 facets of the layer. one of many phenomena Hooke investigated during this manner involved colored earrings of sunshine produced the place items of glass meet at a mild perspective; within the vintage type of the test, a convex lens rests on a section of flat glass, in order that there's a mild wedge-shaped air hole among the 2 glass surfaces close to the purpose the place they contact. The jewelry are visible via taking a look down at the lens from above, and the phenomenon is expounded to the way in which a skinny layer of oil on water produces a swirling development of colors. it's a signal of ways winning Newton was once in rewriting heritage that this phenomenon turned referred to as ‘Newton’s rings’. Hooke’s rules approximately gentle have been in line with a wave conception, which he later constructed to incorporate the recommendation that the waves can be a transverse (side to aspect) oscillation, now not the type of push-pull waves of compression envisaged via Huygens. He defined experiments concerning combustion, from which he concluded that either burning and respiratory concerned whatever from the air being absorbed, coming very just about the invention of oxygen (a century prior to it was once really discovered), and he made a transparent contrast among warmth, which he stated arose in a physique from ‘motion or agitation of its elements’ (almost centuries sooner than his time! ), and combustion, which concerned issues combining. Hooke experimented on himself, sitting in a chamber from which air was once pumped out until eventually he felt ache in his ears, and was once interested by the layout and trying out of an early kind of diving bell.

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