The great biologist Louis Pasteur suppressed 'awkward' data because it didn't support the case he was making. John Snow, the 'first epidemiologist' was doing nothing others had not done before. Gregor Mendel, the supposed 'founder of genetics' never grasped the fundamental principles of 'Mendelian' genetics. Joseph Lister's famously clean hospital wards were actually notorious dirty. And Einstein's general relativity was only 'confirmed' in 1919 because an eminent
British scientist cooked his figures. These are just some of the revelations explored in this book. Drawing on current history of science scholarship, Fabulous Science shows that many of our greatest heroes of science were less than honest about their experimental data and not
above using friends in high places to help get their ideas accepted. It also reveals that the alleged revolutionaries of the history of science were often nothing of the sort. Prodigiously able they may have been, but the epithet of the 'man before his time' usually obscures vital contributions made their unsung contemporaries and the intrinsic merits of ideas they overturned. These distortions of the historical record mostly arise from our tendency to read the present back into the past. But
in many cases, scientists owe their immortality to a combination of astonishing effrontery and their skills as self-promoters.
`Review from previous edition Waller writes with clarity and flair . . . [he] has a real talent for telling a story.'
`Everyone with an interest in science should read this book.'
`a great read'
`Waller tells these stories well ... [his] examples are a valuable look sideways at the rolling juggernaut of modern science.'
Martin Ince, New Scientist
List of illustrations
Introduction: what is history for?
Part 1: Right for the wrong reasons
1: The pasteurization of spontaneous generation
2: 'The battle over the electron'
3: The eclipse of Isaac Newton: Arthur Eddington's 'proof' of general relativity
4: Very unscientific management
5: The Hawthorne studies: finding what you are looking for
Conclusion to Part 1: sins against science?
Part 2: Telling science as it was
6: Myth in the time of cholera
7: 'The priest who held the key': Gregor Mendel and the ratios of fact and fiction
8: Was Joseph Lister Mr Clean?
9: The Origin of Species by means of use-inheritance
10: 'A is for ape, B is for Bible': science, religion, and melodrama
11: Painting yourself into a corner: Charles Best and the discovery of insulin
12: Alexander Fleming's dirty dishes
13: 'A decoy of Satan'
Conclusion to Part 2: sins against history?
Notes on sources
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 1st June 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.2 x 12.8
Weight (kg): 0.22