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Leslie Alan Horvitz


We've all heard the story of Archimedes leaping from his bath. In Eureka Leslie Alan Horvitz tells about similar moments for a dozen scientists and inventors, although I have to say that in fact the book suggests that discoveries are not made via Eureka moments. Those that come closest - Newton's apples and Kekule's snakes catching their own tails - are most likely to be myths. Instead we see the great variety of processes by which these people came to their discoveries. All of the chapters are well written and despite a few quibbles the book is well worth reading - as long as you don't believe the title.

Sometimes there was fair degree of chance, such as Fleming's discovery of penicillin. Likewise Joseph Priestley was apparently was just curious about what would happen if he heated mercuric oxide, and so discovered oxygen. Often however, it was more a case of years of struggle rather that instant insight. Darwin held off publication of the theory of evolution for many years. Wegener didn't have his ideas of continental drift accepted in his lifetime. And Einstein struggled for years with the ideas of General Relativity. The final two chapters describe the DNA story of Watson and Crick and the work of Benoit Mandelbrot on Fractals.

Product Description
The common language of genius: Eureka!
While the roads that lead to breakthrough scientific discovery canbe as varied and complex as the human mind, the moment of insightfor all scientists is remarkably similar. The word "eureka!",attributed to the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes, has cometo express that universal moment of joy, wonder-and even shock-atdiscovering something entirely new. In this collection of twelvescientific stories, Leslie Alan Horvitz describes the drama ofsudden insight as experienced by a dozen distinct personalities,detailing discoveries both well known and obscure. From Darwin,Einstein, and the team of Watson and Crick to such lesser knownluminaries as fractal creator Mandelbrot and periodic tablemastermind Dmitri Medellev, Eureka! perfectly illustrates LouisPasteur's quip that chance favors the prepared mind. The book alsodescribes how amateur scientist Joseph Priestley stumbled onto theexistence of oxygen in the eighteenth century and how televisionpioneer Philo Farnsworth developed his idea for a TV screen whileplowing his family's Idaho farm.