A review of “Brilliant Blunders” by Mario Livy (published in Physics World, December 2013)

Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein, Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe by Mario Livio (2013 Simon & Schuster £18.99 352pp)

In his book Brilliant Blunders, Mario Livio offers a detailed and fascinating examination of major errors made by five great scientists – Charles Darwin, Linus Pauling, Lord Kelvin, Fred Hoyle and Albert Einstein – as they sought to understand the evolution of life on Earth, the evolution of the Earth itself and the evolution of the universe as a whole. The stories of how these blunders came about, and what happened next, are extremely well researched, and they shed a welcome, informative, entertaining and sometimes new light on science as a deeply human activity. They also pass my private test – that non-scientific friends and relatives should be able to read and enjoy them – with flying colours… Read more on the Physics World website

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