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Table of Contents

Partial table of contents: Archimedes--The First Streaker. A Sick Indian Discovers Quinine. The Electric Battery and Electromagnetism--From a Frog's Leg andCompass. Discoveries of the Elements. Daguerre and the Invention of Photography. Nobel--the Man, the Discoveries, and the Prizes. Friedel and Crafts--A Laboratory Accident Spawns New IndustrialChemistry. Some Astronomical Serendipities. Accidental Medical Discoveries. Substitute Sugar: How Sweet It Is--And Non-Fattening. Nylon: Cold-Drawing Does the Trick. Velcro and Other Gifts from Serendipity for Modern Living. Conceptions, Misconceptions, and Accidents in OrganicSynthesis. Epilogue: How Accidents Become Discoveries. Appendix. Index.

About the Author

Royston M. Roberts is the author of Serendipity: Accidental Discoveries in Science, published by Wiley.


This book is a collection of anecdotal ``re caps'' of the accidental discoveries that led to revolutionary scientific develop ment, including Edward Jenner's creation of the smallpox vaccine and Newton's gravity theory. Roberts tells us that Jen ner made the fortuitous connection be tween cowpox and smallpox by investi gating the claim of a milkmaid who avoided smallpox illness in the barnyard. Likewise, a shrewd Newton developed gravitational theory while observing the fall of the fa mous apple. It's clear that Roberts (chemis try, Univ. of Texas) feels most engaged and comfortable in the fields of chemistry and biology, for these sections are the largest and the most informative and concisely written. Elsewhere, the book suffers from a choppy and dry presentation. Recom mended for larger subject collections only.--Lauren Bielski, New York

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