Eureka!: Scientific Breakthroughs that Changed the World / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 94%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (22) from $1.99   
  • New (10) from $5.00   
  • Used (12) from $1.99   


Since the day Archimedes leapt from his bathtub and ran naked through the streets of ancient Syracuse shouting "Eureka!" the history of science has been punctuated by moments of true insight and discovery. Eureka!: Scientific Breakthroughs that Changed the World explores the events and thought processes that led twelve great minds to their "eureka moments." It also explains the profound impact of these discoveries on the way we live, think, and view the world around us.

Most of the "instant" discoveries presented here were, in fact, the combined product of determined effort and exceptional feats of vision. You'll learn how, after years of highly focused study, Dmitri Mendeleyev had a vision of the structure of the periodic table form in his mind while playing a card game of his own devising. Alfred Wegener, on the other hand, amassed data from the varied fields of meteorology, seismology, paleontology, zoology, and geology to confirm his intuitive belief in his theory of continental drift-a theory that provoked a storm of outrage from geologists and was not proven until thirty years after his death.

You'll also meet "lucky" scientists such as Joseph Priestley, who admitted that he did not know what he was doing when he stumbled upon the existence of oxygen, but realized immediately that he had made a stunningly important discovery. Likewise, Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin by recognizing the importance of a "failed" experiment and rescuing it from the trash bin in his lab.

This fascinating and engaging collection of great moments in science is filled with clear explanations, vivid descriptions, and plenty of surprises. It is must reading for anyone interested in science, science history, and the implacable human urge to explore and understand the unknown.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...engaging..." (Professional Engineering, 1 May 2002)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471402763
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/9/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.84 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

LESLIE ALAN HORVITZ is the author, coauthor, or editor of numerous books on science and the history of science, including Level 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC, with Dr. Joseph McCormick and Susan Fisher-Hoch; The Quotable Scientist; and Understanding Depression, with Dr. J. Raymond DePaulo, also from Wiley.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Sudden Flash of Light.

1. A Breath of Immoral Air: Joseph Priestley and the Discovery of Oxygen.

2. Epiphany at Clapham Road: Fredrich Kekule and the Discovery of the Structure of Carbon Compounds.

3. A Visionary from Siberia: Dmitry Mendeleyev and the Invention of the Periodic Table.

4. The Birth of Amazing Discoveries: Isaac Newton and the Theory of Gravity.

5. The Happiest Thought: Albert Einstein and the Theory of Gravity.

6. The Forgotten Inventor: Philo Farnsworth and the Development of Television.

7. A Faint Shadow of its Former Self: Alexander Fleming and the Discovery of Penicillin.

8. A Flash of Light in Franklin Park: Charles Townes and the Invention of the Laser.

9. The Pioneer of Pangaea: Alfred Wegener and the Theory of Continental Drift.

10. Solving the Mystery of Mysteries: Charles Darwin and the Origin of Species.

11. Unraveling the Secret of Life: James Watson and Francis Crick and the Descovery of the Double Helix.

12. Broken Teacups and Infinite Coastlines: Benoit Mendelbrot and the Invention of Fractal Geometry.

Recommended Reading.


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 3, 2015

    I found this book to be fairly interesting. A few of the stories

    I found this book to be fairly interesting. A few of the stories were new to me and I really enjoyed learning about how the discoveries that impact our world today were made. Leslie Alan Horvitz includes the historical background to each scientist and each discovery, making it easier to appreciate the scientific work in full. Horvitz gives the reader a true sense of the person behind each discovery which makes the reader sympathize with their struggles and rejoice in their final accomplishments.
    On the other hand, the book is lacking in some areas. Horvitz never includes pictures or visuals which takes away significantly from chapters regarding the periodic table, the structure of carbon, and fractal geometry. While I had some previous knowledge of these concepts, I do think it would have been much easier to get the full picture and understanding if pictures had been included. Also, while the historical background is interesting and helpful, I did find it longwinded and extremely over-detailed. It’s clear that Horvitz put extensive research into this book, but after a few chapters it was hard to hold interest in her writing anymore. Not only does Horvitz put an excessive amount of details into the historical part of the story, she hardly puts any into the actual scientific discoveries other than merely explaining them. It appears to be a running theme throughout the chapters of misplaced focus. Horvitz tends to focus more on the history of the people than the actual discovery. 
    I feel as though this book would have been far more interesting if the stories were shorter, and in greater number. Some important discoveries are missing which would have been beneficial to learn about as well. Of the stories were more focused it would be easier to read and there would have been room for more of the important discoveries that happened outside of the last 300 years. Overall, this book is interesting, but somewhat tiresome and lacking.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)