The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors
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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 terriﬁ c 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
promising beginning, and he invited Davy, the brightest rising star in the firmament of British chemistry, to come on board as assistant lecturer in chemistry and director of the laboratory at the RI, at an initial salary of 100 guineas per annum plus accommodation at the RI, with the possibility of succeeding Garnett in the top job. Davy accepted, and took up the post on 16 February 1801. He was a brilliant success as a lecturer, both in terms of the drama and excitement of his always thoroughly
the atom -Radioactive decay - The existence of isotopes - Discovery of the neutron - Max Planck and Planck's constant, black-body radiation and the existence of energy quanta - Albert Einstein and light quanta - Niels Bohr - The first quantum model of the atom - Louis de Broglie - Erwin Schrodinger's wave equation for electrons - The particle-based approach to the quantum world of electrons - Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle: wave-particle duality - Dirac’s equation of the electron - The
1/180th of the diameter of the full Moon on the sky). The first distances to stars were only measured in the 1830s, because it was only then that, with improving technology, the measurements became accurate enough to measure the tiny parallax shifts involved - but once the technology was good enough, several astronomers immediately began to make the measurements. The pioneers chose for study stars which they had some reason to think must be relatively close to us - either because they are very
Universe, which we see by light (or radio waves) which left them long ago, are different from nearby galaxies, proving that the Universe is changing as time passes and galaxies age. And the age question itself was gradually resolved as better telescopes became available (notably the 200-inch reflector on Mount Palomar, completed in 1947 and named in honour of Hale) and the confusion between Cepheids and other kinds of variable stars was resolved. It took a long time to narrow down the uncertainty
the general theory includes Newton’s theory of gravity within itself. There will never be a successful description of the Universe which says that Einstein’s theory is wrong in any of the areas where it has already been tested. It is a factual, objective truth that, for example, light gets ‘bent’ by a certain amount when it passes near a star like the Sun, and the general theory will always be able to tell you how much it gets bent. At a simpler level, like many other scientific facts the inverse