The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments

Front Cover
Alfred A. Knopf, 2008 - Science - 192 pages
33 Reviews
From the acclaimedNew York Timesscience writer George Johnson, an irresistible book on the ten most fascinating experiments in the history of scienceómoments 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.

We see Galileo singing to mark time as he measures the pull of gravity, and Newton carefully inserting a needle behind his eye to learn how light causes vibrations in the retina. William Harvey ties a tourniquet around his arm and watches his arteries throb above and his veins bulge below, proving that blood circulates. Luigi Galvani sparks electrical currents in dissected frog legs, wondering at the twitching muscle fibers, and Ivan Pavlov makes his now-famous dogs salivate at ascending chord progressions.

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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nosajeel - LibraryThing

The table of contents was not promising. The book promises the ten "most" beautiful experiments but doesn't have Rutherford discovering the nucleus? But it does have Galvani chopping up frogs to find ... Read full review

Review: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments

User Review  - Mishehu - Goodreads

Those are some beautiful experiments. Most beautiful of all though? I can think of a few that Johnson omits. Then again, so -- as he tells us -- can he. No quibbles with the ten he chose. Each is an ... Read full review

About the author (2008)

George Johnson writes regularly about science for The New York Times. He has also written for Scientific American, The Atlantic Monthly, Time, Slate, and Wired, and his work has been included in The Best American Science Writing. He has received awards from PEN and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and his books were twice finalists for the Rhone-Poulenc Prize. He is a co-director of the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop, and he lives in Santa Fe.

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