When Science Goes Wrong Twelve Tales from the Dark Side of Discovery

ISBN-10: 0452289327
ISBN-13: 9780452289321
Edition: 2008
Authors: Simon LeVay
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Description: Brilliant scientific successes have helped shape our world, and are always celebrated. However, for every victory, there are no doubt numerous little-known blunders. Neuroscientist Simon LeVay brings together a collection of fascinating, yet  More...

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Book details

List price: $16.00
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 3/25/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 7.75" wide x 5.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.550
Language: English

Brilliant scientific successes have helped shape our world, and are always celebrated. However, for every victory, there are no doubt numerous little-known blunders. Neuroscientist Simon LeVay brings together a collection of fascinating, yet shocking, stories of failure from recent scientific history in When Science Goes Wrong.From the fields of forensics and microbiology to nuclear physics and meteorology, in When Science Goes Wrong LeVay shares twelve true essays illustrating a variety of ways in which the scientific process can go awry. Failures, disasters and other negative outcomes of science can result not only from bad luck, but from causes including failure to follow appropriate procedures and heed warnings, ethical breaches, quick pressure to obtain results, and even fraud. Often, as LeVay notes, the greatest opportunity for notable mishaps occurs when science serves human ends. LeVay shares these examples:To counteract the onslaught of Parkinson’s disease, a patient undergoes cutting-edge brain surgery using fetal transplants, and is later found to have hair and cartilage growing inside his brain.In 1999, NASA’s Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft is lost due to an error in calculation, only months after the agency adopts a policy of “Faster, Better, Cheaper.”Britain’s Bracknell weather forecasting team predicts two possible outcomes for a potentially violent system, but is pressured into releasing a ‘milder’ forecast. The BBC’s top weatherman reports there is “no hurricane”, while later the storm hits, devastating southeast England.Ignoring signals of an imminent eruption, scientists decide to lead a party to hike into the crater of a dormant volcano in Columbia, causing injury and death.When Science Goes Wrong provides a compelling glimpse into human ambition in scientific pursuit.

Simon LeVay, whose 1991 paper published in Science, "A difference in hypothalamic structure between homosexual and heterosexual men," attracted worldwide scientific and public attention, is Associate Professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the University of California, San Diego. He is presently Chair of the Steering Committee of the Institute of Gay and Lesbian Education, West Hollywood, a new college for the gay and lesbian community in Southern California.

Neuroscience: The Runner's Brain
Meteorology: All Quiet on the Western Front
Volcanology: The Crater of Doom
Neuroscience: The Ecstasy and the Agony
Engineering Geology: The Night the Dam Broke
Gene Therapy: The Genes of Death
Nuclear Physics: Meltdown
Microbiology: Gone with the Wind
Forensic Science: The Wrong Man
Space Science: Off Target
Speech Pathology: The Monster Study
Nuclear Chemistry: The Magic Island
Epilogue
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