The Scientists

The Scientists

A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors

Book - 2002 | 1st U.S. ed.
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A wonderfully readable account of scientific development over the past five hundred years, focusing on the lives and achievements of individual scientists, by the bestselling author of In Search of Schrödinger's Cat In this ambitious new book, John Gribbin tells the stories of the people who have made science, and of the times in which they lived and worked. He begins with Copernicus, during the Renaissance, when science replaced mysticism as a means of explaining the workings of the world, and he continues through the centuries, creating an unbroken genealogy of not only the greatest but also the more obscure names of Western science, a dot-to-dot line linking amateur to genius, and accidental discovery to brilliant deduction. By focusing on the scientists themselves, Gribbin has written an anecdotal narrative enlivened with stories of personal drama, success and failure. A bestselling science writer with an international reputation, Gribbin is among the few authors who could even attempt a work of this magnitude. Praised as "a sequence of witty, information-packed tales" and "a terrific read" by The Times upon its recent British publication, The Scientists breathes new life into such venerable icons as Galileo, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Linus Pauling, as well as lesser lights whose stories have been undeservedly neglected. Filled with pioneers, visionaries, eccentrics and madmen, this is the history of science as it has never been told before.
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2002.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9781400060139
Branch Call Number: 509 G846
Characteristics: xxii, 646 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.


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May 13, 2019

The author clearly writes on the subject of scientific discovery and the scientists with a great deal of knowledge, insight, and enthusiasm. For up until the 20th century, a sketch of the background & lives of the scientists is framed so that one can appreciate the advancements in knowledge achieved in the development of scientific thought. Each discovery is explained for its significance. The start of this history begins at the Renaissance era when Europe was essentially going back to first principles from the mysticism propagated through the Middle Ages. These myths posited that humans and therefore the Earth and Solar System were set apart from the rest of nature. As the breadth of knowledge increased, science became much more of a discipline thanks in part to Isaac Newton. The advancement of knowledge (Physics, Biology, and Chemistry) eventually lead to the incontrovertible conclusion that our galaxy, our solar system, our planet, and ultimately ourselves are not anything special in nature.

The author's sentences fairly drip with excitement of the moment, humorous asides, and enthusiasm for the scientists. For example, he ably takes on Isaac Newton and his supporters to resurrect the reputation of Robert Hooke. He gleefully recounts the amazing adventures of Count Rumford. He brings home the tragedies of able scientists working in repressive regimes or times such as the French Revolution. The author also points out how several important technology advances enabled scientific advances.

Mar 10, 2017

The stories in the book show that Scientists make discoveries by working from accumulative knowledge from all previous discoveries. The last chapter is most shocking to me. The scientists have figured out that our sun is a star of average size and energy among countless stars, and the milkway is of average size among countless galaxies. The most elements in the vast universe is carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, the elements that make up humans. So it is highly likely that there are countless planets in the universe that have intelligent beings like us....

Aug 11, 2013

"The Scientists" outlines many important people going all the way from Calpurnicus to modern quantum physics scientists. Gives detailed description on their lives and findings going in chronological order. Great book, enjoyed it very much.

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Aug 11, 2013

Sashazius thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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