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Download The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, by George Johnson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (393 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George Johnson Narrator: Dion Graham Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the acclaimed New York Times science writer George Johnson, an irresistible book on the ten most fascinating experiments in the history of science—moments when a curious soul posed a particularly eloquent question to nature and received a crisp, unambiguous reply. 

Johnson takes us to those times when the world seemed filled with mysterious forces, when scientists were dazzled by light, by electricity, and by the beating of the hearts they laid bare on the dissecting table. 

We see Galileo singing to mark time as he measures the pull of gravity, and Newton carefully inserting a needle behind his eye to learn how light causes vibrations in the retina. William Harvey ties a tourniquet around his arm and watches his arteries throb above and his veins bulge below, proving that blood circulates. Luigi Galvani sparks electrical currents in dissected frog legs, wondering at the twitching muscle fibers, and Ivan Pavlov makes his now-famous dogs salivate at ascending chord progressions.

For all of them, diligence was rewarded. In an instant, confusion was swept aside and something new about nature leaped into view. In bringing us these stories, Johnson restores some of the romance to science, reminding us of the existential excitement of a single soul staring down the unknown.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Josh | 2/13/2014

    " A few of these chapters are great. The experiment is clearly described and there are just enough personal details to keep things interesting without overwhelming the science. But I found many of these experiments to be unclear and/or overly focused on unimportant personal details. A recommended read for the interesting experiments, but could have been better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Angela | 1/19/2014

    " The back story of famous experiments, complete with illustrations from the scientists. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Tom | 1/11/2014

    " A fun, quick read, but not really written very well. I should have possibly given it a lower rating, but the experiments are well chosen and fun. The drawings/diagrams and explanations are somewhat tedious and ultimately not that informative, the historical background is randomly anecdotal (not germane) and sometimes irritatingly speculative. In the final experiment, the author includes information about his own attempt to recreate the Millikan oil drop experiment (mass and charge of the electron.) The digression is somewhat interesting (I would love to visit that store in New Mexico that sells all of the old Manhattan Project equipment,) but it is inconsistent with the rest of the book and therefore confusing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mike | 12/28/2013

    " I liked this book-- it had a good balance of interesting experiments and odd stories about the scientists and the beliefs of the time. It is also weird to realize how a total non-scientist like me knows a whole lot about physics, for instance, compared to a scientist in the 1700s-- that the ideas that sprang from the experiments has made it to popular knowledge and has been absorbed into the general pool of human knowledge. No doubt we've got some ideas that are going to look pretty dumb 200 years from now and people are going to be amazed that we believed some of the things we do now. "

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