Robert Cave examines 100 extraordinary projects, theories and experiments that have been conducted in the name of science. Some, including various nuclear tests, have attracted controversy and hostility; others, such as Johann Wilhelm Ritter’s erotic self-experiments with a voltaic pile, seem downright weird. But Cave demonstrates, thoroughly and informatively, that it is only by doggedly asking awkward questions, and paying close attention to the answers, that scientists have been able to make progress.
From spider monkeys to human cyborgs, and from swimming in syrup to chaos theory, Cave places each experiment and discovery in its scientific context to present an entertaining guide to some of the most jaw-dropping entries in the history of science. Why It’s Not All Rocket Science contains chapters on psychology, the body, society, planet Earth and the universe, and to read it is to gain startling insights into why scientists seem to behave so oddly, and how their brilliant if sometimes bizarre work benefits all of society.