The mystery of science is overshadowed in this landmark study
There is little forgiveness in science: erroneous assumptions are discarded, without feeling and forgetting. The reasons seem obvious. Science is a tool to understand and manipulate the world, and what tools I use are obsolete? But note how memorialized earlier forms of literature and art. Besides the pleasure they give us, are a way to understand ourselves, a mirror that reflects our culture and our way of thinking. Could the same be said of science gone?
I hope. There are a lot of romance in the history of science so that it can be ignored. Scientists themselves may be busy with other things, but the rest of us can enjoy picking through the gossip who stayed behind. Majorie C. Malley book is rich in them. In a world long before they start neutrinos travel faster than light, we hear of "corpuscles", the discovery of "uranium X", the appearance of a mysterious element called ionium, research the "radium emanation" and all kinds of rays. The book is a portrait of the early years of age radioactive, and documents all the false starts, dead ends and triumphs that come with the birth of a new field .
The number of scientific personnel is well documented, but, curiously, Malley wait up to two thirds of the way through his book talks about the harmful effects of radioactive substances. For the radio enough for their experiments, the Curia has ordered 220 pounds of pitchblende, a uranium ore, and processed for themselves in the court of his dilapidated laboratory. His notebooks are now dangerously radioactive. Pierre tied a radio on his arm for hours at a time to test their effects on human tissue, while others carried the material in their pockets. Marie Curie died of aplastic anemia caused by radiation, and her daughter to leukemia. Outside the scientific community, radio and the radioactivity was operated as miracle cures. Radium salts consumed in tonics freely available. Radon was inhaled by patients with tuberculosis. Radium spas arose and which were used were built around radioactive sources of water. Fortunately for some customers - even if it would have felt cheated if they had known at the time - the water in these places often do not contain the element, whose price had shot
So much to mention here: a laboratory full of light slightly sparkling fairy dust "," who were a source of pleasure but also the death of Curie and her daughter sessions with X-rays, the change in the perception of a tangible world with a wave and "energy". Unfortunately, Malley, a former academic, is very systematic in their approach. Discussion of the cultural significance of the radioactivity is divorced from the scientific narrative, which in turn is separated by the subject in the infinite subdivisions. There is a sense of dislocation, and the book ends with the feeling too much like a course of study to ignite the imagination. This is a missed opportunity: in a scientific world, the stories of this type should be as familiar to the laity and biblical stories before. Malley written, informative, but sterile, does not bring to life.
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