Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Alice Bell
The Independent
Sam Santosh
Popular Science

Michael Brooks

Free radicals

Science is often seen as a pure search for truth in which scientists argue using logic alone, staying away from personal and political battles. Michael Brooks sees things rather differently, in Free radicals: the secret anarchy of science he argues that scientist will use all sorts of tricks to promote their ideas.

Brooks shows that supressing data which disagrees with your ideas is far more common than you might think - even Einstein went in for it. And the word 'Prion' - does it indicate a discovery of a new way diseases can be transmitted, or can its meaning be changed to reflect later discoveries? The book also describes the lengths that those in authority will go to in order to hold on to their power.

To start with I wasn't very comfortable with the direction the book was taking. Brooks seemed to be following Feyerabend's 'Anything goes', implying that it was all pretty much a sham. In fact that isn't the path the book takes, Brooks is very much in favour of science and want more scientists to be 'free radicals'. This book is really about the uneasy relationship of scientists with authority structures, and looked at in that light it is well worth reading. info
Paperback 288 pages  
ISBN: 1846684056
Salesrank: 2865985
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 2011 Profile Books
Marketplace:New from $4.66:Used from $0.76
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Paperback 320 pages  
ISBN: 1846684056
Salesrank: 562620
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 2011 Profile Books
Marketplace:New from £0.01:Used from £0.01
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ISBN: 1846684056
Salesrank: 1847336
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 2011 Profile Books Ltd
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 19.31:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description

Scientists have colluded in the most successful cover-up of modern times. They present themselves as cool, logical, and levelheaded, relying exclusively on facts and passionless interpretations of painstakingly researched results.

But the truth is scientists will do anything--take drugs, follow mystical visions, lie, and even cheat--to make a discovery. In Free Radicals, physicist and journalist Michael Brooks seamlessly weaves together true stories of the "mad, bad and dangerous" (The Times) men and women who have revolutionized the scientific world into a fast-paced and thrilling exploration of the real process behind discovery. Brooks also traces the cover-up back to its source: the scientific establishment's reaction to the public fear of science after World War II. He argues that it its high time for science to come clean about just how bold and daring scientists really are.