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Beginnings, Blunders, and Breakthroughs in…

Beginnings, Blunders, and Breakthroughs in Science (June 2008) (2007)

by Surendra Verma

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‘The Cause of Mosquitoes’ Sorrow’ might sound like a contender for some prestigious literary award, but the subtitle ‘Beginnings, Blunders & Breakthroughs in Science’ assures us this is a work of anecdote, not angst.

The cause of mosquitoes’ sorrow, by the way, is DDT, developed in 1939 as a pesticide by the Swiss chemist Paul Mueller – who was recognized with the Nobel Prize for Physiology in 1948 – although the original organic compound was synthesized by a German chemist back in 1874.

The stories of the Piltdown Man, N-Rays, and the batmen on the Moon are explored and exploded, together with accounts of Mauve [the first synthetic dye], climate change and colour blindness.

“Pi,’ we are told, ‘has captured the imagination of mathematicians since ancient times”. And that sums up the book in a nutshell: if you care that a supercomputer has calculated the value of Pi to 1, 241, 100, 000, 000 decimal places, this is the read for you. ( )
1 vote adpaton | Jan 16, 2008 |
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This book was originally published in 2007, under the title The Cause of Mosquitoes' Sorrow: Beginnings, Blunders and Breakthroughs in Science.
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