Accidental Geniusby Richard Gaughan
From gunpowder to Viagra, many of the greatest eureka moments in human history were chance discoveries that led to world-changing inventions and ideas. Let this book take you on a tour of the scientific and technological advancements where leaps of faith, unexpected inspiration, and sudden shifts of understanding brought about overnight changes in our perception of… See more details below
From gunpowder to Viagra, many of the greatest eureka moments in human history were chance discoveries that led to world-changing inventions and ideas. Let this book take you on a tour of the scientific and technological advancements where leaps of faith, unexpected inspiration, and sudden shifts of understanding brought about overnight changes in our perception of the world. Sudden flashes of genius have shaped our lives for seven thousand years, from the discovery of Penicillin to the invention of the microwave oven. Celebrating the accidental Einsteins whose moments of inspiration changed the world, this book covers the work of familiar figures such as Isaac Newton and Louis Pasteur, but also reveals unsung heroes like the inventors of safety glass and the radio.
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What I find most interesting about anecdotes like the ones in Accidental Genius is the human interest angle, not necessarily the scientific work - the admirable tenacity of individuals, their unwavering belief in the value of their work (usually in the face of a majority of naysayers), and then the serendipitous events that lead to their discoveries. While the chance element to each of these stories is highlighted and certainly adds excitement, Gaughan reminds readers that those serendipitous moments would either have not had the impact they did, if any at all, without the discoverers' mix of persistence and curiosity. No matter how familiar the reader is with the material covered - and there is plenty; the book spans many centuries - she will find the anecdotes accessible and entertaining, thanks to Gaughan's deft pacing and unobtrusive humor. He brings the stories and people to life, often adding nice touches of personal elements that present the discoverer as a person first, scientist second. I especially found the stories about Carothers and Newton particularly insightful.