By George Johnson
A blinding, impossible to resist selection of the 10 so much ground-breaking and gorgeous experiments in clinical heritage.
With the eye to aspect of a historian and the story-telling skill of a novelist, New York Times technological know-how author George Johnson celebrates those groundbreaking experiments and re-creates a time while the realm appeared choked with mysterious forces and scientists have been in awe of sunshine, electrical energy, and the human physique. the following, we see Galileo staring down gravity, Newton breaking up gentle, and Pavlov learning his now well-known canine. this can be technology in its such a lot artistic, hands-on shape, while ingenuity of the brain is the main great tool within the lab and the rewards of a well-considered scan are on based reveal.
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Extra info for The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments
Forty six forty six the particle accelerator of its day: Donovan, Antoine Lavoisier, p. forty seven. T h e d i a m o n d - b u r n i n g scan is defined in Poirier, Lavoisier, pp. 58-60. forty seven forty seven "the air contained in matter": Poirier, Lavoisier, p. fifty eight. " C a m p h i r e dissolved in good deflegmed spirit": Portsmouth assortment (Add. Ms. 3975), C a m b r i d g e college Library, Cambridge college, pp. 32-44. forty eight "In [Saturn] is concealed an i m m o r t a l soul": T h e manuscript is at Yale collage (Beinecke Library, Mellon Ms. seventy nine) and on-line on the Newton venture. The passage was once copied f r o m George Starkey's The Marrow of Alchemy (1654). For the which means of the alchemical phrases, I trusted an research by means of William N e w m a n , a historian of technology at Indiana collage, at the PBS website for the Nova exhibit "Newton's darkish secrets and techniques. " forty eight For the heritage of the phlogiston speculation, see Stephen Finney Mason, A historical past of the Sciences, new rev. ed. (New York: Collier, forty nine 1962), pp. 303-13"impelled by way of forces": Poirier, Lavoisier, p. sixty three. forty nine 50 fifty two fifty two "gave wings to earthly molecules": Ibid. , p. sixty two. Lavoisier's 1769 test: Ibid. , pp. 32-34. Lavoisier's marriage: Ibid. , pp. 39-41. information about Lavoisier's spouse and her function in his experiments are in Roald H o f f m a n n , " M m e . Lavoisier," American Scientist ninety, no. 1 (January-February 2002): 22. A digital m u s e u m of Lavoisier's paintings, together with an in depth chronology of his experiments and p h o tographs of s o m e of his e q u i p m e n t , is being assembled on-line at Panopticon Lavoisier. additionally, the whole works of Lavoisier, fifty two "different different types of air": Priestley wrote a three-volume paintings, Exper- in French, can be found on the internet at Les GEuvres de Lavoisier. 164 Notes and Bibliography iments and Observations on other kinds of Air (London: published for J. Johnson, 1774). For a quick heritage of this paintings, see Mason's heritage of the Sciences, pp. 304-6. fifty three Lavoisier's experiments with p h o s p h o r u s , sulfur, tin, and litharge: Poirier, Lavoisier, pp. 65-66, and Guerlac, Lavoisier, pp. 79-80. The tin test is defined in historical past of the Sciences, p. 308. The equipment within the litharge scan, known as a p n e u m a t i c trough, was once a edition of o n e devised via Stephen Hales. fifty three fifty four He notion he knew the reply: within the experiments with p h o s p h o rus and sulfur he additionally observed symptoms of air absorption, and a Parisian chemist had stated an identical consequence. See Guerlac, Lavoisier, p. seventy nine. Estimates of the cost of mercurius calcinatus are f r o m Poirier, Lavoisier, p. seventy four. fifty four fifty four "without addition": Ibid. "What stunned m e more": Ibid. fifty four fifty five "I fancied that my breast": Poirier, Lavoisier, p. seventy six. Lavoisier's first experiments with m e r c u r y are defined in Poirier, fifty five "eminently breathable": Ibid. , p. 103. Lavoisier used those phrases in a conversation to the French academy in April 1775 that was once released as " O n the character of the main Which C o m b i n e s with Metals D u r i n g Calcinations and raises Their Weight.