What do the discovery of the coffee bean, the invention of the aqualung, the perception of the importance of the size of the moon, the conquest of smallpox, and supersonic flight all have in common? They are milestones in the history of science, a saga that began before the ancient Greeks and one that will continue for thousands of years to come. These and other fascinating stories about several of the world's most important inventions and discoveries are featured in The Book of Scientfic Anecdotes. This witty, informative, and highly readable collection includes more than sixty anecdotes chosen and edited by science writer Adrian Berry. Divided into eleven sections, the book covers topics ranging from man's exploration of the world - and space - to the revolution in communications, scientific martyrs, and "bogus science." It contains a wealth of fascinating, little-known facts and information, as well as anecdotes about people who have played crucial roles in the progress of science - Louis Pasteur, Einstein, and Galileo - along-side lesser-known individuals - " Lucy," the woman who lived more than three million years ago; Gilbert Vernam, the creator of the "one-time pad," the world's first unbreakable cipher; and J. S. Haldane, the only man to have tested safely in the mines by reciting Shakespeare. The scientific achievements of this century - relativity, quantum mechanics, nuclear power, genetic engineering, space travel, jet aircraft, desktop computers, and the beginnings of artificial intelligence - have swept away most of the predictions of the last. What do these breakthroughs augur for the twenty-first century? The Book of Scientific Anecdotes illuminates some of the inventions and discoveries that have changed the world, and the people who made them.
A witty collection of what might be called the parables of science. Berry pokes some fun at scientists, without being disrespectful, and never fails to inform as he entertains. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)