Edition: 2024
Pages: 200
Series: IR/L
ISBN: 9788858153499

Stories of Memorable Errors

Piero Martin



From Fermi, Einstein and Pauling to almost unknown scientists: an amazing journey through memorable mistakes and failures in science.

Despite the cliché that scientists are people who always have the right answer, the reality is different. Physics, mathematics and chemistry are exact sciences, but those who practise them sometimes make mistakes. In fact, error is part of science and, in a kind of parallel to life, it comes in many forms. In science there is the error that is the engine of new knowledge, but there is also the error that is the result of ideology or haste or naivety. There is the error that is recognised and therefore fruitful, but there is also the stubborn error. There is the error that comes from settling into the comfort zone of tradition, or from adapting to the principle of authority that is antithetical to the scientific method, and there is the error that comes from being too far ahead of the curve. Scientists make mistakes, and this book recounts some of the more memorable errors that have punctuated scientific progress. Despite the mistakes (or perhaps because of them), science has doubled human life expectancy over the last two centuries, invented vaccines that have eradicated major diseases and defeated pandemics, enabled instant communication across oceans and continents, exponentially increased the agricultural productivity of land, understood nature from the sub-nuclear scale to the edge of the universe.

The author

Piero Martin

Piero Martin is a professor of experimental physics at the University of Padua and carries out research on thermonuclear fusion. A fellow of the American Physical Society, he has been the scientific director on major international research projects such as the RFX experiment in Padua and the ‘Eurofusion Medium Size Tokamak’ European Task Force. Since 2017 he has been Chief Physicist and a member of the Executive Board of DTT, Italy’s major new fusion experiment. His last book, Le 7 Misure del Mondo (Laterza 2021) was a bestsller and it has been translated in more than 10 countries.

Scopri l'autore