Smoking Ears and Screaming Teeth: A Celebration of Scientific Eccentricity and Self-Experimentation

Pegasus Books
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A witty celebration of the great eccentrics who have performed dangerous scientific experiments on themselves for the benefit of humankind.

Many scientists have followed the advice of the great Victorian doctor Jack Haldane to “never experiment on an animal if a man will do” and “never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself.” He and his father inhaled poisonous gasses to test the efficacy of the prototype gas mask they had invented. When breathing gasses under pressure he suffered the smoking ears and screaming teeth of the title.

The stories in Norton’s new book are astonishing, disturbing or absurd. The zoologist Frank Buckland made a concentrated effort to widen the nation’s diet by personally testing everything that crossed his path, from boiled elephant’s trunk to slug soup. Some medics deliberately contracted deadly blood diseases in the hope of finding cures. Then there was the surgeon who was fired and subsequently won the Nobel Prize for thrusting a catheter into his own beating heart.

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About the author

Trevor Norton is an emeritus professor at the University of Liverpool, having retired from the Chair of Marine Biology. He has published widely on ecological topics. His much acclaimed books include Stars Beneath the Sea; Reflections on a Summer Sea; Under Water to Get Out of the Rain; and Smoking Ears and Screaming Teeth.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Pegasus Books
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Published on
Sep 27, 2012
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781605988504
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Experiments & Projects
Science / General
Science / History
Science / Life Sciences / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Of all the inventions of the nineteenth century, the scientist is one of the most striking. In revolutionary France the science student, taught by men active in research, was born; and a generation later, the graduate student doing a PhD emerged in Germany. In 1833 the word 'scientist' was coined; forty years later science (increasingly specialised) was a becoming a profession. Men of science rivalled clerics and critics as sages; they were honoured as national treasures, and buried in state funerals. Their new ideas invigorated the life of the mind. Peripatetic congresses, great exhibitions, museums, technical colleges and laboratories blossomed; and new industries based on chemistry and electricity brought prosperity and power, economic and military. Eighteenth-century steam engines preceded understanding of the physics underlying them; but electric telegraphs and motors were applied science, based upon painstaking interpretation of nature. The ideas, discoveries and inventions of scientists transformed the world: lives were longer and healthier, cities and empires grew, societies became urban rather than agrarian, the local became global. And by the opening years of the twentieth century, science was spreading beyond Europe and North America, and women were beginning to be visible in the ranks of scientists.

Bringing together the people, events, and discoveries of this exciting period into a lively narrative, this book will be essential reading both for students of the history of science and for anyone interested in the foundations of the world as we know it today.
Biographies of scientists carry an increasingly prominent role in today's publishing climate. Traditional historical and sociological accounts of science are complemented by narratives that emphasize the importance of the scientific subject in the production of science. Not least is the realization that the role of science in culture is much more accessible when presented through the lives of its practitioners. Taken as a genre, such biographies play an important role in the public understanding of science. In recent years there has been an increasing number of monographs and collections about biography in general and literary biography in particular. However, biographies of scientists, engineers and medical doctors have rarely been the topic of scholarly inquiry. As such this volume of essays will be welcomed by those interested in the genre of science biography, and who wish to re-examine its history, foundational problems and theoretical implications. Borrowing approaches and methods from cultural studies and the history, philosophy and sociology of science, the contributions cover a broad range of subjects, periods and locations. By presenting such a rich diversity of essays, the volume is able to chart the reoccurring conceptual problems and devices that have influenced scientific biographies from classical antiquity to the present day. In so doing it provides a compelling overview of the history of the genre, suggesting that the different valuations given scientific biography over time have been largely fuelled by vested professional interests.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“An imperative how-to for creativity.” —Nick Offerman

Adam Savage—star of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters and one of the most beloved figures in science and tech—shares his golden rules of creativity, from finding inspiration to following through and successfully making your idea a reality.

Every Tool’s a Hammer is a chronicle of my life as a maker. It’s an exploration of making and of my own productive obsessions, but it’s also a permission slip of sorts from me to you. Permission to grab hold of the things you’re interested in, that fascinate you, and to dive deeper into them to see where they lead you.

Through stories from forty-plus years of making and molding, building and break­ing, along with the lessons I learned along the way, this book is meant to be a toolbox of problem solving, complete with a shop’s worth of notes on the tools, techniques, and materials that I use most often. Things like: In Every Tool There Is a Hammer—don’t wait until everything is perfect to begin a project, and if you don’t have the exact right tool for a task, just use whatever’s handy; Increase Your Loose Tolerance—making is messy and filled with screwups, but that’s okay, as creativity is a path with twists and turns and not a straight line to be found; Use More Cooling Fluid—it prolongs the life of blades and bits, and it prevents tool failure, but beyond that it’s a reminder to slow down and reduce the fric­tion in your work and relationships; Screw Before You Glue—mechanical fasteners allow you to change and modify a project while glue is forever but sometimes you just need the right glue, so I dig into which ones will do the job with the least harm and best effects.

This toolbox also includes lessons from many other incredible makers and creators, including: Jamie Hyneman, Nick Offerman, Pixar director Andrew Stanton, Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro, artist Tom Sachs, and chef Traci Des Jardins. And if everything goes well, we will hopefully save you a few mistakes (and maybe fingers) as well as help you turn your curiosities into creations.

I hope this book inspires you to build, make, invent, explore, and—most of all—enjoy the thrills of being a creator.
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