Ten Most Beautiful Experiments

ISBN-10: 1400041015
ISBN-13: 9781400041015
Edition: N/A
List price: $22.95 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: From the acclaimedNew York Timesscience writer George Johnson, an irresistible book on the ten most fascinating experiments in the history of science—moments when a curious soul posed a particularly eloquent question to nature and received a crisp,  More...

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Book details

List price: $22.95
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 4/8/2008
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 208
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

From the acclaimedNew York Timesscience writer George Johnson, an irresistible book on the ten most fascinating experiments in the history of science—moments when a curious soul posed a particularly eloquent question to nature and received a crisp, unambiguous reply. Johnson takes us to those times when the world seemed filled with mysterious forces, when scientists were dazzled by light, by electricity, and by the beating of the hearts they laid bare on the dissecting table. We see Galileo singing to mark time as he measures the pull of gravity, and Newton carefully inserting a needle behind his eye to learn how light causes vibrations in the retina. William Harvey ties a tourniquet around his arm and watches his arteries throb above and his veins bulge below, proving that blood circulates. Luigi Galvani sparks electrical currents in dissected frog legs, wondering at the twitching muscle fibers, and Ivan Pavlov makes his now-famous dogs salivate at ascending chord progressions. For all of them, diligence was rewarded. In an instant, confusion was swept aside and something new about nature leaped into view. In bringing us these stories, Johnson restores some of the romance to science, reminding us of the existential excitement of a single soul staring down the unknown.

George Johnson was born in 1952, in Fayetteville, Ark. He has worked for newspapers in Albuquerque, N.Mex. and Minneapolis, Minn., and is a science writer for the New York Times. His first book, Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics (1984), won a special achievement award in nonfiction from the Los Angeles chapter of International PEN. Many of Johnson's other books evidence thoughtful, spiritual examinations of the relation between man and science. Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith and the Search for Order (1995) is about the diversity of ideas in New Mexico. Johnson draws parallels between Los Alamos and the worshipful view of scientific discovery and the high desert, a sacred place for the Tewa Indians and Hermanos Penitentes.

Prologue
Galileo:The Way Things Really Move
William Harvey:Mysteries of the Heart
Isaac Newton:What a Color Is
Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier:The Farmer's Daughter
Luigi Galvani:Animal Electricity
Michael Faraday:Something Deeply Hidden
James Joule:How the World Works
A. A. Michelson:Lost in Space
Ivan Pavlov:Measuring the Immeasurable
Robert Millikan:In the Borderland
Epilogue:The Eleventh Most Beautiful Experiment
Notes and Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Index

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