The Lost Elements: The Periodic Table's Shadow Side [PDF]
09 November 2014, 16:44
2015 | PDF | 10.98MB
The Periodic Table of Elements hasn't always looked like it does now, a well-organized chart arranged by atomic number. In the mid-nineteenth century, chemists were of the belief that the elements should be sorted by atomic weight. However, the weights of many elements were calculated incorrectly, and over time it became clear that not only did the elements need rearranging, but that the periodic table contained many gaps and omissions: there were elements yet to be discovered, and the allure of finding one had scientists rushing to fill in the blanks. Supposed "discoveries" flooded laboratories, and the debate over what did and did not belong on the periodic table reached a fever pitch. With the discovery of radioactivity, the discourse only intensified. Throughout its formation, the Periodic Table of Elements has seen false entries, good-faith errors, retractions, and dead ends. In fact, there have been more falsely proclaimed elemental discoveries throughout history than there are elements on the table as we know it today.
The Lost Elements: The Periodic Table's Shadow Side collects the most notable of these instances, stretching from the nineteenth century to the present. The book tells the story of how scientists have come to understand elements, by discussing the failed theories and false discoveries that shaped the path of scientific progress. We learn of early chemists' stubborn refusal to disregard alchemy as a legitimate practice, and of one German's supposed discovery of an elemental metal that breathed. As elements began to be created artificially in the twentieth century, we watch the discovery climate shift to favor the physicists, rather than the chemists. Along the way, Fontani, Costa, and Orna introduce us to the key figures in the development of today's periodic table, including Lavoisier and Mendeleev. Featuring a preface from Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann, The Lost Elements is an expansive history of the wrong side of chemical discovery-and reveals how these errors and gaffes have helped shape the table as much as any other form of scientific progress.
The Making of Copernicus [PDF]
09 November 2014, 08:26
2014 | PDF | 7.76MB
The contributors to Making of Copernicus examine by the study of particular examples how some of the myths surrounding Copernicus came about and whether they have held their validity or have vanished altogether. Are there links between a real or postulated transformation of images of the world and the application of metaphors in science, especially the metaphor of scientific revolution? What were the interactions and conflations in science and literature that led to Copernicus being set on a pedestal or being cast down from it, and how did they come about? Is there on the other hand any fallout from reconstructions and hagiographies in the history of science on the literary image of Copernicus presented by novelists down into the 20th century? Papers deal with the history of the reception of Copernicus not by affirming or rejecting him and his teachings, but as rather as a process of transformation. They thus examine transformations of his doctrine: methodological, institutional, textual and visual - and transformations of the historical personage of Copernicus: topical, rhetorical, and literary.
Contributors are: Lucía Ayala, Tamás Demeter, Dana Jalobeanu, Jörg Jungmayr, Stefan Kirschner, Sergius Kodera, Andreas Kühne, Wolfgang Neuber, Thomas Rahn, Steffen Schneider, Jonathan Schüz, Gereon Wolters, and Claus Zittel.
The Blind Watchmaker [EPUB]
09 November 2014, 04:04
2006 | EPUB | 1.52MB
Acclaimed as the most influential work on evolution written in the last hundred years, The Blind Watchmaker offers an inspiring and accessible introduction to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. A brilliant and controversial book which demonstrates that evolution by natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind yet essentially non-random process discovered by Darwin - is the only answer to the biggest question of all: why do we exist?