Scientific Discovery from the Brilliant to the Bizarre: The Doctor Who Weighed the Soul, and Other True Tales

Scientific Discovery from the Brilliant to the Bizarre: The Doctor Who Weighed the Soul, and Other True Tales

by Len Fisher


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Winner of the IgNobel Prize in physics and the 2004 American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award, Len Fisher showed just how much fun science can be in his enthusiastically praised debut, How to Dunk a Doughnut. In this new work, he reveals that science sometimes takes a path through the ridiculous and the bizarre to discover that Nature often simply does not follow common sense.   
One experiment, involving a bed, platform scales, and a dying man, seemed to prove that the soul weighed the same as a slice of bread. But other, no less fanciful experiments and ideas led to the fundamentals of our understanding of movement, heat, light, and energy, and such things as the discovery of electricity, and the structure of DNA; improved engines; and the invention of computers. As in his previous book, Fisher uses personal stories and examples from everyday life, as well as humor, to make the science accessible. He touches on topics from lightning to corsets and from alchemy to Frankenstein and water babies, but he may not claim the last word on the weight of the soul!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611457421
Publisher: Arcade
Publication date: 03/01/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Len Fisher is an honorary research fellow in the
Department of Physics, University of Bristol, England. The author of more than eighty scientific papers, Fisher has made more than 200 radio and television appearances worldwide.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

1 Weighing the Soul 1

2 Making a Move 23

3 A Salute to Newton 45

4 The Course of Lightning through a Corset 69

5 Fool's Gold? 89

6 Frankenstein Lives 111

7 What Is Life? 133

8 Conclusion: Necessary Mysteries 161

Appendix: A Brief Catalogue of Necessary Mysteries 165

Notes 183

Index 243

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