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Brilliant blunders : from Darwin to Einstein : ... Read More

Livio, Mario 1945-(author.).

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  • 1 of 1 copy available at Kirtland Community College.

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Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Kirtland Community College Library Q 172.5 .E77 L58 2014 30775305472228 General Collection Available -

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781439192375 (paperback)
  • ISBN: 1439192375 (paperback)
  • Physical Description: print
    341 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
  • Edition: First Simon & Schuster trade paperback edition
  • Publisher: New York, London : Simon & Schuster, 2014.

Content descriptions

General Note:
Originally published: 2013.
Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages ... Read More
Subject: Errors, Scientific

Syndetic Solutions - Publishers Weekly Review for ISBN Number 9781439192375
Brilliant Blunders : From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe
Brilliant Blunders : From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe
by Livio, Mario
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Publishers Weekly Review

Brilliant Blunders : From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe

Publishers Weekly


Astrophysicist and award-winning author Livio (The Golden Ratio) analyzes ruinous errors of five great scientific minds in the wake of their most prominent discoveries and how those errors have not only propelled scientific breakthroughs, but provide "insights...into the operation of the human mind." Summoning Charles Darwin, Lord Kelvin, Linus Pauling, Fred Hoyle, and Albert Einstein, Livio argues there is no progress without lessons in humility. These thinkers succumbed to moments of fear, pride, stubbornness, and doubt common to all "mere mortals"-to the benefit of elucidating the evolution of life and the universe. Two-time Nobel prize-winning chemist Pauling's flub of basic chemistry catalyzed the discoveries of Watson and Crick; Hoyle, a cosmologist who displayed "pigheaded, almost infuriating refusal" to give up his thoroughly refuted "steady state theory", energized advanced studies of how we exist in space with his controversial ideas; and Einstein, "the embodiment of genius", refused to give up on his cosmological constant, "the most famous fudge factor in the history of science." With humor and precision, Livio reminds us: "Even the most impressive minds are not flawless; they merely pave the way for the next level of understanding." (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Syndetic Solutions - Library Journal Review for ISBN Number 9781439192375
Brilliant Blunders : From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe
Brilliant Blunders : From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe
by Livio, Mario
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Library Journal Review

Brilliant Blunders : From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe

Library Journal


(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Astrophysicist, prolific writer, and blogger Livio (Space Telescope Science Inst.; The Golden Ratio) succeeds in his aim to demonstrate that science progresses by fits and starts, with oversights, or conceptual errors (aka blunders), as part of the process. Livio sees blunders as very dependent upon a scientist's milieu-the theories, prejudices, and culture within which the scientist exists. He examines the world-changing key works of Charles Darwin, physicist Lord Kelvin, Linus Pauling, astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, and Albert Einstein via detailed descriptions of the contexts within which their oversights occurred. His placement of these scientists' work within their historical context makes the technical details of their research more accessible to lay readers and is a narrative approach reminiscent of George Pendle's Strange Angel, his study of rocketeer Jack Parsons. Livio aims to link the men's work under the notion of environment and evolution, defined so broadly that they seem useless and unnecessary threads, the only notable shortcoming of this engaging work. Verdict An entertaining and different take on the work of pivotal Western scientists. Recommended.-Sara R. Tompson, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Lib., Pasadena, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Syndetic Solutions - CHOICE_Magazine Review for ISBN Number 9781439192375
Brilliant Blunders : From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe
Brilliant Blunders : From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe
by Livio, Mario
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CHOICE_Magazine Review

Brilliant Blunders : From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe

CHOICE


Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Everyone makes mistakes, but when giants of science make errors, they often have far-reaching consequences. Here, writer/astrophysicist Livio (Space Telescope Science Institute) looks at five scientists, their errors, and how they dealt with them. Darwin's great theory of natural selection could not work given current beliefs on the subject. He either did not know of Mendel's concurrent work on heredity or ignored it. Lord Kelvin gave a date for Earth's age based on cooling, and refused to change it despite geological evidence to the contrary. Fred Hoyle put forward the "steady state" theory of the universe, dismissing Gamow's rival, and ultimately correct, big bang theory. Linus Pauling put forward an incorrect structure for DNA in order to beat Watson and Crick to print, but graciously acknowledged later that they were correct. Perhaps the biggest error was made by the greatest mind of them all, Albert Einstein, when he inserted a cosmological constant "fudge factor" into his equations that he later removed and termed the "greatest blunder" of his career. This is a highly readable account of scientists' lives and what leads them to make errors. Chapter notes provide further opportunities for exploration of the subject. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates and general audiences. C. G. Wood formerly, Eastern Maine Community College

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