Download Drive and Curiosity: What Fuels the Passion for Science by Istvan Hargittai, Carl Djerassi PDF

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By Istvan Hargittai, Carl Djerassi

What motivates these few scientists who upward push above their friends to accomplish leap forward discoveries? This publication examines the careers of fifteen eminent scientists who completed probably the most amazing discoveries of the prior century, offering an insider’s standpoint at the historical past of 20th century technological know-how in response to those attractive character profiles. They include:

• Dan Shechtman, the 2011 Nobel laureate and discoverer of quasicrystals;
• James D. Watson, the Nobel laureate and codiscoverer of the double helix constitution of DNA;
• Linus Pauling, the Nobel laureate remembered so much for his paintings at the constitution of proteins;
• Edward Teller, a huge of the twentieth century who comprehensive breakthroughs in realizing of nuclear fusion;
• George Gamow, a pioneering scientist who devised the first and foremost ridiculed and now approved titanic Bang.

In every one case, the writer has exposed a unique character attribute, motivational issue, or situation that, as well as their striking force and interest, led those scientists to make impressive contributions. for instance, Gertrude B. Elion, who stumbled on medicines that kept hundreds of thousands of lives, was once encouraged to discover new medicines after the deaths of her grandfather and later her fiancé. F. Sherwood Rowland, who stumbled upon the environmental damage attributable to chlorofluorocarbons, ultimately felt an ethical relevant to develop into an environmental activist. Rosalyn Yalow, the codiscoverer of the radioimmunoassay continuously felt she needed to end up herself within the face of prejudice opposed to her as a lady.

These and lots of extra attention-grabbing revelations make this a must-read for everybody who desires to recognize what qualities and situations give a contribution to a person’s turning into the scientist who makes the massive step forward.

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Extra info for Drive and Curiosity: What Fuels the Passion for Science

Example text

I have often thought that sub-liminally, Szilard's The Voice of the Dolphins and Other Stories eventually influenced me to choose the genre of “science-in-fiction” to propagate some of my own ideas about the behavior and culture of scientists in a belletristic fashion. The remaining Hargittai choices reach far and wide in terms of subject matter (MRI, X-ray crystallography, conducting polymers, and cosmology), but what I find most impressive is that they—as well as the rest of the book—illustrate the enormous range of work habits of twentieth-century scientists.

In addition to visiting Rosalyn Yalow, my acquaintance with Eugene Straus—her closest associate after Solomon Berson's death—augmented my personal experience with her. I have enjoyed a long friendship and many get-togethers with Árpád Furka and Danny Shechtman. In addition to my personal meetings with Neil Bartlett, our correspondence gave me a glimpse into his personality. Of the personal interactions, Edward Teller stands out not only because of our meeting and later correspondence but also because my recent book about him followed two years of studying his life and oeuvre.

Among scientists, curiosity is a given and serendipity an unsolicited gift. But what does drive mean? It is here that the reader will find intriguing examples, ranging from strict lifelong workaholic discipline to working modes that border on dillydallying. How could drive cover such a broad range? Quite simply because in every case ambition is the key component—the motivation of so many scientists, but at times also their poison. Hargittai's book has two remarkable features. In fifteen chapters, he manages to cover an extraordinary range of scientific fields—all of them presented in a style that is attractive to readers ranging from sophisticated scientists to laypersons.

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