These vividly recounted tales of human skill and ingenuity offer fascinating views of the correlation between theories, practical inquiries, ideas, and facts. Re-created strictly on the basis of the original publication in which the results were first announced, the scrupulously accurate retellings of 20 groundbreaking scientific experiments are complemented with rare photos and illustrations.
Based on such criteria as fame, historical importance, elegance, and economy of method, the experiments include Aristotle's work on the embryology of the chick, Galileo's discovery of the law of descent, Newton's experiment on the nature of colors, Lavoisier's proof of the oxygen hypothesis, William Beaumont's work on the process of digestion, Faraday's demonstration of the identity of all forms of electricity, J. J. Thompson's discovery of the electron, Michelson and Morely's demonstration of the impossibility of detecting the motion of the earth, and a dozen others.
Each experiment is appraised and analyzed in the light of subsequent developments, placing the work within the context of the history of science. In addition to diagrams and photographs of the experimental method and apparatus, brief biographies and portraits of the scientist appear as well.
Rom Harré is a Fellow Emeritus of Linacre College, Oxford, and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and American University, Washington, D.C.