Remarkable Discoveries! by Frank Ashall

By Frank Ashall

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But his long distance transmission was nevertheless successful, and his perseverance demonstrates that scientists should think carefully before they decide to give up an important experiment about which they may have some doubts. It is not an uncommon occurrence for an important discovery to be made even when the knowledge at the time predicts that the experiment will fail. In Marconi's case, the experiment worked because of the existence of the ionosphere, even though nobody was aware that it did exist.

Maxwell's mathematical analyses of electricity and magnetism increased the well-being of many nations, and of the world as a whole, because it led to improvements in long distance communication on a scale few people could ever have imagined. Maxwell not only forecast radio waves, but also gave a precise mathematical explanation for the electromagnetic phenomena that Faraday had so beautifully investigated. Maxwell opened up a new era of physics that paved the way for twentieth century developments such as quantum theory and Einstein's theory of relativity.

D57A78 1994 509dc20 93-46796 CIP ISBN 0 521 43317 7 hardback eISBN 0511001614 virtual (netLibrary Edition) Page v To my daugher, Etty, and all children of her generation Page vii Contents Preface ix Useful Information xii 1 The Father of Electricity 1 2 One Giant Leap for Mankind 17 3 Medicine's Marvellous Rays 27 4 Things That Glow in the Dark 35 5 Parcels of Light 47 6 Dr Einstein's Fountain Pen 61 7 The Big Bang, or How It All Began 79 8 Molecular Soccerballs 93 9 Jostling Plates, Volcanoes and Earthquakes 105 10 Soda Water, Phlogiston and Lavoisier's Oxygen 121 11 Of Beer, Vinegar, Milk, Silk and Germs 131 12 Of Milkmaids, Chickens and Mad Dogs 153 13 Malaria's Cunning Seeds 171 14 Penicillin from Pure Pursuits 183 15 DNA, the Alphabet of Life 199 16 Cutting DNA with Molecular Scissors 219 17 DNA, the Molecular Detective 233 18 Magic Bullets 247 Further Reading 267 Index 275 Page ix Preface Scientists have a responsibility to inform the public about the good that basic scientific research has done and can do for humanity, and to educate everyone about the wonderful workings of Nature.

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