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warts and all,
This review is from: Fabulous Science: Fact and Fiction in the History of Scientific Discovery (Hardcover)
John Waller has the rare gift of wearing his learning lightly while imparting it easily. "Fabulous Science" is a student's dream. As a thoroughly entertaining read, it is an easy way to absorb knowledge on a wide range of scientific discovery. At the same time this book overturns many of our conventional assumptions.
We learn, for example, that in proving the existence of the electron, Robert Millikan ignored experimental data that did not fit his theory, that Dr. Joseph Lister, hero of aseptic surgery, had the highest patient death toll because of unsanitary wards, and that John Darwin was less than revolutionary in subscribing to traditional beliefs of the inheritance of acquired characteristics.
This is history, warts and all, rather than the mythologies we like to create. Yet surprisingly, the characters depicted so realistically become more admirable. The title is apt. If the history of science has been wrapped in fable, the reality is no less wonderful than the mythologies we created.
For the scientist and the historian, this book is essential reading. For the lay reader it simply an enjoyable read, competing with any mystery for entertainment.