It’s the 12th and final day of the 12 Day of Comma Sale! Quick, head to our website where you can buy 12 of our most beloved books at an exclusive discount rate.
As we have done for the last 11 days, we couldn’t finish off without our final spotlight blog post on Litmus: Short Stories from Modern Science. These stories focus on the ‘Eureka!’ moments had by some of the biggest brains of modern science – Einstein, Mendeleev and Swan, to name only 3 – and the ground breaking discoveries that they instigated. From light bulbs, to relativity, to a chart most commonly found on the walls of chemistry labs (can you guess discovery one belongs to who?), these stories aim to make human these now mythic tales and bring to life the ‘characters’ that feature in them.
Like the creation myths they supersede, the revelations of science are seared into our collective imagination through storytelling. From Archimedes’ bath to Newton’s apple, vivid accounts of scientific discovery help us understand the principles behind each theory, and add to the larger narrative of how the universe works, and how we came to be here.
This anthology draws out and distills science’s love of narrative from a wide range of scientific disciplines, weaving theory into very human stories, and delving into the humanity of theorists and experimenters as they stood on the brink of momentous discoveries: from Joseph Swan’s original light-bulb moment to the uncovering of ‘mirror neurons’ lighting up empathy zones in the human brain; from Einstein’s revelation on a Bern tram, to Pavlov’s identification of personality types thanks to a freak flood in his St Petersburg lab.
Each story has been written in close consultation with scientists and historians and is accompanied by a specially written afterword, expanding on the science for the general reader.
Together, they bring vividly to life the stories behind the ‘eureka!’ moments that changed the way we live, forever.
Who should you buy it for?
Described by The Guardian as ‘an inspiring tribute to inquiring minds’, we think that this book is perfect for someone whose ideas are as big as some of the scientists’ in this book. A great way to inspire, as well as remind us all that these people were all only human too. Who knows what the next reader of this book might invent?
An Excerpt from ‘Swan, 1914’ by Sean O’Brien
Ladies and Gentlemen, I shall not be here for long; and nor will you. Nature has taken its course. For many of us the mortal span is ended; for others death approaches swiftly. It must be so. I speak to you from my desk and those of you who live are, many of you, scattered across the globe, but let us entertain the notion that we are all present to each other this evening in the lecture theatre of the Literary and Philosophical Society – as we were present (numbering, it is said, seven hundred) on the night when I addressed you in this very room on 20th October 1880, Lord Armstrong in the chair. At the conclusion of my address I asked for the seventy gas jets which at that time illuminated the room to be turned off. Let us suppose that; let us endow ourselves with temporary immortality. Turn off the gas. Here we are, then, in the dark, are we not? – As in the darkness that lay on the face of the waters. Now then. Bear with my story. I shall be brief.
When I was a boy the poor went to bed at sunset and frightened their children with the bogeyman Bonaparte. My family was never quite poor, but our fortunes declined by stages because of my father’s generosity and improvidence and his trusting nature. I most remember our house in Pallion looking down on to the wooded slopes and shipyards of the Wear. We children would sing our adaptation of a Methodist hymn:
And then we’ll shout and shine and sing
And make the Pallion arches ring
When all the Swans come home.
I think I have spent my life attempting to come home.
Quick, head to our website where you can buy 12 of our most beloved books at an exclusive discount rate. The sale ends on the 18th December.