Scientists and Scoundrels: A Book of Hoaxes

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U of Nebraska Press, 1965 - History - 251 pages
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As if history and nature had not provided wonders enough, through the ages humans themselves have contrived more marvels to deceive one another. Sometimes they have concocted evidence when none was available to prove pet theories; sometimes their intention has been to impress or defraud; sometimes they have acted merely for sport. Robert Silverberg tells the stories of a baker's dozen of these scientific hoaxers in a lively, good-humored book that ranges through time and across continents. Here are perpetual-motion machines and space rockets, men on the moon and serpents in the sea. The rogues? gallery is a varied one: Dr. Mesmer, who cast his hypnotic spell on eighteenth-century Paris; Charles Dawson, whose Piltdown Man challenged evolution; Dr. Cook, with his tale of ?discovering? the North Pole; and many others. These are fascinating stories and more than just entertainment. The author explains the scientific background against which the hoaxes appeared and the detective work that led to their exposure. The schemers teach us to be alert, to challenge the evidence, and to appreciate the healthy skepticism that characterizes the scientific method.
 

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Contents

One The Lying Stones of Dr Beringer
1
Two The Marvelous Magnetism of Dr Mesmer
16
Three The Men on the Moon
34
Four The Sea Serpent of Dr Koch
51
Five John Keelys PerpetualMotion Machine
71
Six The Kensington Stone
85
Seven Dr Cook and the North Pole
108
Eight Paul Schliemann
143
Nine The Etruscan Sculptures
159
Ten The Case of the Venezuelan ApeMan
171
Eleven The Kammerer Tragedy
188
Twelve Otto Fischers Rocket Ride
207
Thirteen The Piltdown Puzzle
220
A Last Word
235
Index246
246
Copyright

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About the author (1965)

Robert Silverberg is the author of numerous books, including "At Winter's End" and "The Queen of Springtime," both available in Bison Books editions, and "Far Horizons: All New Tales from the Greatest Worlds of Science Fiction."

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