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Litmus: Short Stories from Modern Science [Paperback]

Kate Clanchy , Frank Cottrell Boyce , Stella Duffy , Sarah Hall , Trevor Hoyle , Jane Rogers , Alison MacLeod , Sara Maitland , Maggie Gee , Sean O'Brien , Prof Jim Al-Khalili , Prof. Denis Noble , Ra Page
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

26 May 2011
Like the creation myths they supersede, the revelations of science are seared into our collective imagination through storytelling. From Archimedes' bath to Newton's apple, vivid accounts of scientific discovery help us understand the principles behind each theory, and add to the larger narrative of how the universe works, and how we came to be here. This anthology draws out and distills science's love of narrative from a wide range of scientific disciplines, weaving theory into very human stories, and delving into the humanity of theorists and experimenters as they stood on the brink of momentous discoveries: from Joseph Swan's original light-bulb moment to the uncovering of mirror neurons lighting up empathy zones in the human brain; from Einstein's revelation on a Bern tram, to Pavlov's identification of personality types thanks to a freak flood in his St Petersburg lab. Each story has been written in close consultation with scientists and historians and is accompanied by a specially written afterword, expanding on the science for the general reader. Together, they bring vividly to life the stories behind the 'eureka!' moments that changed the way we live, forever.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Comma Press (26 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905583338
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905583331
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Exquisite... delectable.' --New Scientist

'The pairings work brilliantly, giving stereoscopic vision... ingenious... unfailingly interesting.' --Book of the Week, The Independent

'An inspiring tribute to inquiring minds.' --The Guardian

About the Author

Sarah Hall is the author of four novels: Haweswater, which won the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel and a Society of Authors Betty Trask Award; The Electric Michelangelo, shortlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize; The Carhullan Army, which won the 06/07 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award; and How To Paint a Dead Man, longlisted for the 2009 Man Booker prize. Her story Butcher's Perfume was shortlisted for the 2010 BBC National Short Story Prize and her first collection of shorts, The Beautiful Indifference, was published by Faber and Faber in 2011. Frank Cottrell Boyce is an award-winning screenwriter and children s novelist. His film credits include Welcome to Sarajevo, Hilary and Jackie, Code 46, 24 Hour Party People, A Cock and Bull Story and the forthcoming remake of Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang. In 2004, his debut novel Millions won the Carnegie Medal and was shortlisted for The Guardian Children s Fiction Award. His second novel, Framed, was published by Macmillan in 2005, and later adapted into a film by the BBC. His third, The Unforgotten Coat, was shortlisted for the 2012 Costa Children s Book Award and won the 2012 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. Frank also writes for the theatre and was the author of the highly-acclaimed BBC film God on Trial. He was Danny Boyle s script writer on the 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Stella Duffy has written twelve novels. Theodora, published by Virago (UK) in 2010 and by Viking Penguin (US) in 2011, is her first historical novel. The Room of Lost Things and State of Happiness were both longlisted for the Orange Prize, and she has twice won Stonewall Writer of the Year. She has written over forty short stories, including several for BBC Radio 4, and won the 2002 CWA Short Story Dagger for Martha Grace. She is currently working on the sequel to Theodora, The Purple Shroud, as well as several film and theatre projects. Stella is also a theatre director and performer, and has written eight plays. Jane Rogers was born in London in 1952 and lived in Birmingham, New York State (Grand Island) and Oxford, before doing an English degree at Cambridge University. She taught English for 6 years before the publication of her first novel, Separate Tracks. Since then she has written eight novels including Mr Wroe s Virgins, Island, The Voyage Home and most recently The Testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press), as well as original and adapted work for television and radio drama. In 1994 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 2009 her story Hitting Trees With Sticks was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Prize. She is currently Professor of Writing on the MA course at Sheffield Hallam University. She lives near Manchester with her partner and two children.

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read 6 Sep 2011
Interesting concept combining short fictional stories loosely based on historical scientific events. Really fascinating, particularly the lesser known scientists and ideas. The commentary sections from latter day scientists was great
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Litmus: Short Stories from Modern Science 27 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm afraid this book underlines my long-held belief that good scientists seldom make good writers and vice-versa. There are certainly exceptions to the rule,amongst whom possibly the two greatest ever were Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. There are also some living examples,though,sadly,I have yet to find any in this book (which,in fairness,I haven't quite finished).
The idea of pairing writers and scientists to overcome the above problem was an ingenious one but,in my view,in this case,it hasn't worked.
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