When Albert Einstein was an old man and sat down to write a short volume of autobiographical notes - "something like my own obituary" - he remembered the day his father showed him a compass. Turning it this way and that, the boy watched in wonder as the needle pointed insistently north. "I can still remember - or at least believe I can remember - that this experience made a deep and lasting impression upon me," Einstein wrote. "Something deeply hidden had to behind things."
Prologue On a clear winter morning several years ago, I drove up a hill to St. John's College to play with electrons.
When you throw a rock, catch a ball, or jump just hard enough to clear a hurdle, the older, unconscious part of the brain, the cerebellum, reveals an effortless grasp of the fundamental laws of motion.
The eleventh most beautiful experiment may be yet to come.
A dazzling, irresistible collection of the ten most ground-breaking and beautiful experiments in scientific history.
With the attention to detail of a historian and the story-telling ability of a novelist, New York Times science writer George Johnson celebrates these groundbreaking experiments and re-creates a time when the world seemed filled with mysterious forces and scientists were in awe of light, electricity, and the human body. Here, we see Galileo staring down gravity, Newton breaking apart light, and Pavlov studying his now famous dogs. This is science in its most creative, hands-on form, when ingenuity of the mind is the most useful tool in the lab and the rewards of a well-considered experiment are on elegant display.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:13 -0400)
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. 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.--From publisher description.… (more)