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Science Without the Boring Bits: A Curious Chronology of Discovery, Invention and Wild Speculation

Popular Science

By: Ian Crofton

352 pages, 50 illustrations

Quercus Publishing

Hardback | Sep 2010 | #187572 | ISBN-13: 9781848660564
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £12.99 $16/€15 approx

About this book

Forget Boyle's law, polymer chains, cellular respiration and fields of force - here's all the really interesting stuff you never learnt during science lessons at school. But this isn't fantasy, this is hard fact: * Fact: The stethoscope owes its invention in 1816 to a young doctor who was too embarrassed to put his ear to a young woman's chest; * Fact: In 1954 a Soviet surgeon grafted a puppy's head onto the shoulder of a German shepherd dog; * Fact: Since falling off a ship in 1992, fleets of yellow rubber ducks have provided invaluable data on the currents of the world's oceans.

Science Without the Boring Bits covers all the important (and some of the totally unimportant) branches of science: * Physics: from experiments involving the slow removal of one's stockings to the Dutchman who tested the Doppler effect by placing an entire orchestra on a railway wagon; * Zoology: from the spontaneous generation of mice from rotting wheat to the 'discovery' that swallows spend their winters at the bottom of lakes; * Botany: from the rhododendron honey that makes men mad to the use of ginger as an equine suppository; * Meteorology: from showers of frogs and fish to the man struck by lightning seven times; * Astronomy: from the Greek philosopher who believed the sun was a great disk of blazing metal to the American astronomer who saw irrigation canals on Mars.


Contents

Introduction. The Ancient World: from the year of Creation, to curiosities regarding the number six. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance: from the environmental effects of menstrual flow, to the boy with the golden tooth. The 17th Century: from flights of fantasy, to showers of frogs. The 18th Century: from a whiff of brimstone, to the thrilling effects of nitrous oxide. 1800 to 1849: from war over bird droppings, to desperate remedies. 1850 to 1899: from Dr Merryweather's tempest prognosticator, to Pitchblende and gooseberry jelly. 1900 to 1924: from nothing new to be discovered, to just obeying orders. 1925 to 1949: from a lunatic in reception, to the people's war against the snail. 1950 to 1989: from the Bare-Fronted Hoodwink, to Reggio Calabria syndrome. 1990 to the future: from Galileo less rational than his persecutors, says future pope, to how nigh is the end of the world? Index (of sorts).

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Biography

Ian Crofton's authorial credits include The Totally Useless History of the World, The Kings and Queens of England, The Disappeared and Traitors and Turncoats. He has also written on science for a younger audience, co-authoring Deserts and Semideserts and Atoms and Elements in the Young Oxford Library of Science.

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