"Brlliant Blunders"

Read any good books lately?
nmblum88
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"Brlliant Blunders"

Post by nmblum88 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:06 pm

Livio, Mario: Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding..

Told, as I was, about this book during lunch yesterday by an enthusiastic (and almost unbearably eloquent) friend, there was nothing for it but to visit almost every (open on Sunday) bookstore in the vast area that is Los Angeles, hunting for a copy, and finally!! GATHERING.
By 630 p.m. we had the book in hand and by 7:00 a.m. this morning I had finished this thoroughly captivating and above all truly enlightening in its basic inspiration, book.
(This is NOT , by the way, a refutation of what deluded dilettantes argue about in Forums, but about what happens in the process of actual experiment and observation.. in the conceiving of hypotheses and the struggle to prove their worth as well as the turmoil of discarding one completely.)

Educational on two levels:
1) that it introduces lay audiences to five of the most influential practionaers in the unusually explosive arena of 20th Century science, with all their blazing intellects and their human flaws, and,
2) that addresses, if obliquely, what science really IS, and what it means to be a working scientist, what distinguishes science from other areas of human endeavor, not to glorify it but to explain, to reiterate where necessary that science IS above all, hard, even obsessively so, WORK

Work that is too often frustrating, sometimes fruitless, three steps backwards for every on forward, if at all..
Euphoric successes and devastating disappointment in tandem. .
And what workers these are... with the stories of the struggles, and the successes and the astounding errors of Linus Pauling AND Einstein, I think, leading all the rest.
Although the chapter on Darwin, so brilliant, so earnest, so idealistically Christian, and so hampered by the fact that genetics was a subject in its infancy and thus too little known to be of use to him, certainly shouldn't be missed.
Especially by those of us who don't understand the concept of science as a continuum within human history, building always on what is already known, and both inseparable from other human endeavors, but unique in its requirements for persistent learning and persistent labor.
Never having read any of the author's other books, all devoted to bringing science alive to the interested but often confused explorer, I'm now off to find more of them, for myself and as gifts for young relatives and friends (and foes).




NMB
Skepticism:
" Norma, you poor sad lonely alcoholic. You entire life is devoted to interrupting other people's posts on this forum, regardless of the topic, to tell them what's wrong with them. The irony is, here you are doing it again, with this very post.
Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."