Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe

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Mario Livio

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Drawing on the lives of five great scientists, this a??scholarly, insightful, and beautifully written booka?? (Martin Rees, author of From Here to Infinity) illuminates the path to scientific discovery.

Charles Darwin, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Linus Pauling, Fred Hoyle, and Albert Einstein all made groundbreaking contributions to their fieldsa??but each also stumbled badly. Darwina??s theory of natural selection shouldna??t have worked, according to the prevailing beliefs of his time. Lord Kelvin gravely miscalculated the age of the earth. Linus Pauling, the worlda??s premier chemist, constructed an erroneous model for DNA in his haste to beat the competition to publication. Astrophysicist Fred Hoyle dismissed the idea of a a??Big Banga?? origin to the universe (ironically, the caustic name he gave to this event endured long after his erroneous objections were disproven). And Albert Einstein speculated incorrectly about the forces of the universea??and that speculation opened the door to brilliant conceptual leaps. As Mario Livio luminously explains in this a??thoughtful meditation on the course of science itselfa?? (The New York Times Book Review), these five scientists expanded our knowledge of life on earth, the evolution of the earth, and the evolution of the universe, despite and because of their errors.

a??Thoughtful, well-researched, and beautifully writtena?? (The Washington Post), Brilliant Blunders is a wonderfully insightful examination of the psychology of five fascinating scientistsa??and the mistakes as well as the achievements that made them famous.


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