Book: Eurekas and Euphorias

Eurekas and Euphorias
“The Oxford Book of Scientific Anecdotes” is an apt subtitle. Place this book alongside the Oxford English Dictionary.

Too many anecdotes. Read just parts of it.
356 pages, ★★★

Eurekas and Euphorias is a collection of 181 anecdotes surrounding scientific discovery. Each anecdote is short (one or two pages) and contains large amounts of quoted text (in an annoyingly small font) from external sources.

The anecdotes are interesting, but there are too many of them. Rather like a dictionary or encyclopaedia, this book contains no narrative and no recurring characters, which makes it unbearable to read in one sitting. Honestly, I didn’t finish this book.

It’s categorised in my library as “popular science”, but I would reassign it somewhere between “humour” and “reference”. These anecdotes don’t serve well as a standalone book. The information is interesting but the compilation is simply too intense. Instead, I think these stories should be blended into regular science textbooks to make them more relevant and interesting to students.

I suggest only reading parts of this book. Choose those parts at random, or pick such cryptic topics from the contents page as “the crackle that made history” or “the physicist’s peregrinations”. You might find a story that’s memorable and that you enjoy.

Anecdote number 31 about barometers was most interesting for me. Start there, perhaps. ★★★

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