File Size: 2193 KB
Print Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Random House; Reprint edition (December 18, 2007)
Publication Date: December 18, 2007
I don't think I'm too far wrong to say that the first demand we make of an research to be beautiful is that it's result is surprising. It's result can be surprising either for disagreeing with what we expected to find, or because we thought that it would not be possible to get any precise answer.
The fact in the book which i was most startled by is that, based on the Galileo scholar Stillman Drake, Galileo got the idea that objects move a distance that is quadratic in time not by mathematical reasoning but from using his inclinded plane; certainly We would have expected Galileo to test the idea on his willing plane, but this is an early instance of curve fitting.
I am also ashamed to say that I had developed believed that Newton's crucial experiment was important for collecting colored white back into white light, when in fact its importance is that light will not change color when refracted.
The chapter "Perception in Science" wirtes in passing about a larger activity than doing tests: a scientist feeling like they can see and feel entities like chromosomes which are hard actually to get our fingers on.
The book might have been better organized. Having a book be about the top 10 of something is simple to construct and probably helps the book sell but the book felt to me like separate essays collected together, in the form chapter on an experiment and then a chapter on some general thoughts related to that experiment. Also, like almost all explanations of the measurement of the earth's circumference by Eratosthenes, Crease does not explain the value of why the two locations are on the same meridian. Associated with course any two details on the earth are on some great group of friends, but Crease does not make it clear if we just need to know their geodesic distance (along whatever great circle they are really on) or if it is important they both lie on one meridian., I remember being a physics student in university some 20 year ago and reading an article about the "10 most beautiful" or "important" or something experiments in physics. I just mention it, since the subject of this book is the one which has been around awhile. That will is not to disparage this guide at all. Best 10 lists very funny. They inform and still leave a wide open field for disagreements. In adding forth his list, Professor Crease has written a book that is a pleasure.
One of the best things about this book is the fact that he has written very lucid answers of some very important experiments in the historical past of science. As a physics teacher, I feel always on the search for nice explanations of important occasions in research. His list brings with each other some of my most favorite: Eratosthenes' measurement of the earth, Galileo's inclined aircraft experiment, and Rutherford's precious metal foil experiment, for example. Even a novice should be able to come away with a sense of what these experts accomplished and why it was important.
In the interludes between chapters, Crimp goes a little further. He or she attempts to discuss beauty in science. Here is a much more difficult and speculative area and, though I agree that research has beauty, a few of these interludes are strong ("Why Science Is Beautiful", ""Does Science Destroy Beauty? "). Other folks, less so. In particular, his last few pages on modern experiments that might be considered beautiful and why modern science can still produce beautiful experiments are much less than compelling.
Overall, yet , this is a nice book. The experimental part of science is often skirted over in popular books that give attention to popular and important theories. That is nice to get a guide that takes experiment so seriously and expounds upon it so nicely. Anyone with an interest in science will find things to like here.
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