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The Totally Useless History of Science: Cranks, Curiosities, Crazy Experiments and Wild Speculations

Crofton, Ian

96 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1848660731 / ISBN 13: 9781848660731
Published by Arcturus, 2010
Used Condition: Good Hardcover
From Once Upon A Time Books (Springdale, AR, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Totally Useless History of Science: ...

Publisher: Arcturus

Publication Date: 2010

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Includes dust jacket.

About this title


Forget Boyle’s law, polymer chains, cellular respiration and fields of force – here’s all the really interesting stuff you never learnt during science lessons at school. But this isn’t fantasy, this is hard fact:

  • Fact: The stethoscope owes its invention in 1816 to a young doctor who was too embarrassed to put his ear to a young woman’s chest
  • Fact: In 1954 a Soviet surgeon grafted a puppy’s head onto the shoulder of a German shepherd dog
  • Fact: Since falling off a ship in 1992, fleets of yellow rubber ducks have provided invaluable data on the currents of the world’s oceans
Totally Useless History of Science covers all the important (and some of the totally unimportant) branches of science:
  • Physics: from experiments involving the slow removal of one’s stockings to the Dutchman who tested the Doppler effect by placing an entire orchestra on a railway wagon.
  • Zoology: from the spontaneous generation of mice from rotting wheat to the ‘discovery’ that swallows spend their winters at the bottom of lakes
  • Botany: from the rhododendron honey that makes men mad to the use of ginger as an equine suppository
  • Meteorology: from showers of frogs and fish to the man struck by lightning seven times
  • Astronomy: from the Greek philosopher who believed the sun was a great disk of blazing metal to the American astronomer who saw irrigation canals on Mars

About the Author:

Ian CroftonÆs authorial credits include BrewerÆs Britain and Ireland, the 2nd edition of BrewerÆs Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable and BrewerÆs Cabinet of Curiosities. For Quercus he has written The Kings and Queens of England, History without the Boring Bits (2007) and Traitors and Turncoats (2009). He lives in North London with his family.

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