Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
Acid Tongues and Tranquil Dreamers: Eight Scientific Rivalries That…
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380977540, Hardcover)Scientific discovery, observes popular science writer Michael White, hinges on argument: at the root of all investigation lies a scientist's argument with the world, conducted in order to coax out information and secrets "until ideas and observation coalesce."
White's interest, however, is on a less elevated plane. In this entertaining book, he recounts personal and professional feuds that have driven scientists to reach new heights--for, as the Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, himself no stranger to rivalry, once optimistically observed, "the longer two intelligent people argue, the better their arguments become." Among the arguments that rage through White's book are Isaac Newton's hatred for Gottfried Leibniz, whose formulation of the calculus was independent of Newton's own but, Newton insisted, was a second-rate plagiarism; Richard Owen's fierce refutations of his onetime friend Charles Darwin's theories of speciation and natural selection; the personal squabbles that engulfed Francis Crick and James Watson's discovery of DNA; and a whole complex of rivalries and nasty politics that surrounded the development of the atomic bomb ("perhaps more than any other scientific endeavor in history," White writes, "the making of the atomic bomb exemplifies how pure intellect, corrupted by greed and fear, and supercharged by vast material resources, is capable of transforming the course of society"). White closes with another transforming episode, the development of the personal computer through a battle of "cyber-kings": Microsoft versus NOISE ("Netscape, Oracle, IBM, Sun ... and Everyone Else"). His book is an entertaining sidelong glance at the history of science, full of sound--and plenty of fury. --Gregory McNamee
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Apr 2011 13:58:13 -0400)
As George Bernard Shaw said, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." Like other creative geniuses, scientists have achieved breakthroughs as a result of irrational motives--notably the desire to best a rival. Revealing how each resulted in extraordinary discoveries, Michael White explores eight all-too-human rivalries over the past four centuries.--From publisher description.
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.