Morse invented the telegraph, Bell the telephone, and Edison the light bulb . . . or so we have been led to believe. In a discipline so firmly rooted in empirical data, its surprising to discover how the history of science can be so riddled by apocrypha, inaccuracies, and blatant falsehoods. In Everythings Relative, writer and physicist Tony Rothman sets the record straight once and for all, giving credit where credit is due by debunking centuries of commonly held beliefs embedded throughout science and technologys illustrious, albeit distorted, history.
Combining a storytellers gift with a scientists focus, Tony Rothman breaks down many of the most famous "just-so" stories of physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, and technology. Each engaging anecdote clearly reveals how unique discoveries are the exception, rather than the rule. Discoveries almost always take place simultaneously or build upon a predecessors breakthrough . . . usually without acknowledging the work of their fellow colleagues whose slighted names have since fallen into obscurity. Who really discovered Neptune? Was it the quiet, self-effacing Brit John Couch Adams or the arrogant, self-promoting French scientist Urbain Le Verrier? Or was Neptunes discovery just a fantastic coincidence altogether? Everythings Relative tells the fascinating "truth-is-stranger-than-fiction" story behind this and many other scientific discoveries and breakthroughs, including how: