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The Scientists: An Epic of Discovery [Hardcover]

Andrew Robinson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: 24.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

17 Sep 2012
This book tells the remarkable lives of the pioneers of science from Galileo and Newton, Faraday and Darwin, Pasteur and Marie Curie, to Einstein, Freud, Turing, and Crick and Watson. A series of seventy articles, written by an international team of distinguished scientists, historians of science and science writers, provides an unrivalled account of the lives and personalities behind the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time. Organized thematically, starting at the Universe, and moving smaller through the Earth and Molecules and Matter to Inside the Atom, with the final two sections looking at Life and Body and Mind, it covers all the major scientific disciplines, including astronomy, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computing, ecology, geology, medicine, neurology, physics and psychology, as well as mathematics. The Scientists will intrigue budding scientists, those fascinated by the lives of great individuals, and anyone curious to know how over the centuries we came to understand the physical world around us and inside us.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd (17 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500251916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500251911
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 18.8 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 386,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Sumptuously illustrated … From Alan Turing and Marie Curie to William Harvey and Chandrasekhar Venkata Raman, this is a sampler of the driven, complex, fascinating characters who fomented scientific revolutions. --Nature

This fascinating book resounds with those words Isaac Newton once wrote in a letter to Robert Hook: 'If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.' This is a book of - and for - life' --The Irish Times

This excellent celebration of the evolution of science over the centuries should be of broad interest to scientists and non-scientists alike it will also be a wonderful stimulus to young people thinking about a career in science. --The Lancet

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief biographies of scientists through the ages 21 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a Thames and Hudson book! You feel and smell it as soon as you open the cover! The binding is superlative, the paper cream and heavy, and it is built to last!

In its 290 pages it gives a biography of 40 scientists who have changed the way we see the world. I would view these 7 page biographies as tasters, tempting the reader to explore further if anything appeals, and surely something will. As well as the usual suspects, such as Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, you will find other less well known scientists whose work is now part of our thoughts.

For instance, James Clerk Maxwell was a Scottish physicist whose work laid the foundations of all that makes this world what it is: electricity, radio, bluetooth, WiFi, TV, and everything else electromagnetic. Alfred Wegener postulated continental drift, the mechanism that drives volcanoes and earthquakes as the material of the Earth is slowly subjected to convection currents. Alan Turing showed theoretically how a computer could be built. Santiago Ramón y Cajal discovered the neural structure of the brain. The Leakeys found the origins of human life in East Africa.

Each, in his way, made a fundamental contribution to our knowledge and understanding, and this coffee table book celebrates their lives and works in words and pictures. It is a book I like a lot!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mini biographies of great scientists 30 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Recent years have seen the publication of a number of `coffee table' books on science. The term is sometimes taken to imply derision, but I don't share that view; within their limitations, they have their place. This one is a collection of mini-biographies of great scientists from ancient times to the modern period. They are grouped loosely in themes based on structural size, starting from the largest, `Universe', and proceeding through `Earth', `Molecules and Matter' to `Inside the Atom', and ending with a section called `Body and Mind'. The criterion for inclusion is fairly arbitrary. The introduction says a common theme is that `... all of them worked habitually and continually at science and were prolifically productive', but of course that could be said of many more who were not included.

The contributions themselves are usually well written, but necessarily very short, at most a few pages. Because of this they are sometimes terse and what one gets is little more than a collection of facts. Although some attempt is made to set the work of the subjects in context, the brevity of the contributions makes this difficult. For example, in the article on Crick and Watson, the contribution of Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin are mentioned in a couple of one-liners. (On the other hand, this article does provide a little of the personal relationship between the two men.) Perhaps this is not such a bad thing, as it may encourage readers to delve deeper. There is a good Further Reading section at the end of the book to help with this. Like all good `coffee table' books it is lavishly illustrated with excellent photographs and figures, many of which I have never seen before.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful biographies of scientists 29 Oct 2012
By Sam Woodward TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A number of recent popular science books such as Why Does E=mc2? have explained baffling theories by outlining the history of the ideas themselves & explaining how they developed. So scientific history is not just about paying homage to the past but also provides excellent insight into the foundations of current scientific thinking.

This book gives us a concise overview of this history. It's beautifully presented in the style of a 'coffee-table' book with lots of pictures, but it also has more satisfying textual content than this format would imply. It details the lives & works of 43 great thinkers from various disciples, including astronomers from Galileo to Hubble, physicists such as Einstein, the self-labelled 'naturalist' Darwin & 'father of psychology' Freud. Each scientist has 6-8 pages dedicated to them, containing illustrations, a full-page portrait/photograph & a concise overview of their work. These overviews are written by their fellow scientists & in the cases of more recent figures, by people who actually met them (as claimed by Patrick Moore in his section about Hubble). Due to their brevity, many are a little dry, merely listing the scientists' works & influences but a few give insight into their characters as well. Collectively, bringing brief biographies of luminaries from such varied disciplines together really drums home the message that in science, there really is no substitute for work, work & more work; even those 'eureka' moments are the result of years of research.

For those who are interested in learning more about science & how it works, this book provides an invaluable insight. If you flicked through a copy in your local bookshop, the format may deceive you into thinking it's all nice pictures & no content but I'm glad to report that this is not the case at all. Nevertheless, I found it was most easily digested in small portions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adventures with scientists! 28 Oct 2012
By Sir Barnabas VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A nice "coffee table" style book, "The scientists: An epic of discovery" gives an insight into the personalities behind some of the great discoveries that have revolutionised our understanding of the universe, our world and ourselves.

There are 43 essays written by a mixture of scientists, science historians and science writers. These are organised into sections such as Universe, Earth, Molecules & matter, Inside the atom, Life and, finally, Body and mind. They span an eclectic range of subject areas of some of the greatest minds to have graced their fields. Some of those included in this book such as Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton are household name and others less so such as Hideki Yukawa and Jan Purkinje.

A well written and well illustrated a book, I would happily recommend to anyone with an interest in science and its history.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The history of science
I'm not quite sure what audience this book is aimed at--I can't see the average secondary school pupil understanding the science (or indeed the philosophy of science) as described... Read more
Published 13 months ago by T. Burkard
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book to dib in and out of!
As a physicist I have enjoyed looking the scientist I know and finding out more about them. My favourite being Bhor. Read more
Published 15 months ago by David A. Nash
5.0 out of 5 stars Biographies of perhaps the most important people ever
This beautifully illustrated book describes the lives and work of 43 people who it could be said created the modern world by developing much of our current knowledge. Read more
Published 15 months ago by jcmacc
4.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to some of science's brightest minds
Previous to reading The Scientists, I read Simon Flynn's excellent The Science Magpie: A Hoard of Fascinating Facts, Stories, Poems, Diagrams and Jokes, Plucked from Science and... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Petra Bryce
5.0 out of 5 stars Lavish in every way
It is a long time since I have picked up a book that just oozes quality like this one does.

It's also a long time since I've picked up a book where the binding is so... Read more
Published 17 months ago by The Fat Monk
5.0 out of 5 stars The history of science, told with a personal touch
The history of the rise of science is told here through a series of biographies of some of the key figures that made great leaps forward. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mr. Stuart Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the most important people in history - truly amazing!
Science is a fascinating subject as are the people that have been involved in some of the key milestones in human history. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Another Weasley
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