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: 3573286
Published: 2011 Profile Books
Amazon price $4.66
Marketplace:New from $4.49:Used from $1.34
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Paperback 320 pages  
ISBN: 1846684056
Salesrank: 670711
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 2011 Profile Books
Marketplace:New from £0.45:Used from £0.01
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ISBN: 1846684056
Salesrank: 2539033
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 1709 Profile Books Ltd
Amazon price CDN$ 25.98
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Product Description
The thrilling exploration of the secret side of scientific discovery --proving that some rules were meant to be broken scientists have colluded in the most successful cover-up of modern times. They present themselves as cool, logical, and level-headed, when the truth is that they will do anything --take drugs, follow mystical visions, lie and even cheat --to make a discovery. They are often more interested in starting revolutions than in playing by the rules. In Free Radicals, bestselling author Michael Brooks reveals the extreme lengths some of our most celebrated scientists --such as Newton, Einstein, and Watson and Crick --are willing to go to, from fraud to reckless, unethical experiments, in order to make new discoveries and bring them to the world's attention.