Book review: ‘The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments’ by George Johnson

Ten classic science experiments and the stories behind them.

The Ten Most Beautiful ExperimentsThe popular science writer George Johnson hit upon a nice idea for a book: describing classic science experiments and telling the stories behind them. It's the sort of thing that Adam Hart-Davis did so well on his TV series Local Heroes, but with a bit more seriousness. The result is a concise, fun book which can easily be read in a few hours.

Here you will find experiments by Galileo, Harvey, Newton, Lavoisier, Galvani, Faraday, Joule, Michelson, Pavlov and Millikan. All excellent choices, although I think I would have been tempted to include Eratosthenes' calculation of the circumference of the Earth and Darwin's worm stone (although I'm a bit biased regarding the latter).

I wish, however, that Johnson had given the book a different title: by describing the experiments as the most beautiful, he has pretty much ruled out the possibility of a sequel.

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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