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Bad science : the short life and weird times of cold fusion

Author: Gary Taubes
Publisher: New York : Random House, ©1993.
Edition/Format:   Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
At 1:00 P.M., on March 23, 1989, two obscure scientists at the University of Utah announced that they had discovered salvation in a test tube - cold nuclear fusion. The technology promised sale, cheap, limitless energy, and the press played it as the scientific breakthrough of the century. It would become instead a fiasco of epidemic proportions, an unforgettable morality tale in the scientific method: what happens
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Taubes, Gary.
Bad science.
New York : Random House, ©1993
(OCoLC)644000053
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Gary Taubes
ISBN: 0394584562 9780394584560
OCLC Number: 26811416
Description: xxi, 503 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: Author's note --
Prologue : The press conference --
The meltdown --
The competition --
Autumn 1988 --
January and February 1989 --
February 26 to March 15, 1989 --
March 16 to March 23, 1989 : the wager --
March 23 and 24, 1989 : afterthought --
A collective derangement of minds --
The tail of the distribution --
Epilogue.
Responsibility: Gary Taubes.

Abstract:

At 1:00 P.M., on March 23, 1989, two obscure scientists at the University of Utah announced that they had discovered salvation in a test tube - cold nuclear fusion. The technology promised sale, cheap, limitless energy, and the press played it as the scientific breakthrough of the century. It would become instead a fiasco of epidemic proportions, an unforgettable morality tale in the scientific method: what happens when reason is perverted by hope and greed. Gary Taubes's Bad Science is the vivid, dramatic, and definitive story of the astonishing quest for cold fusion, from its premature birth in a Utah turf war to its lingering and surreal death in a laboratory in College Station, Texas. It is the story of good scientists and bad, of heroes and charlatans, and of a race in which thousands of researchers spent tens of millions of dollars to prove or disprove the existence of a canard.

Drawing from interviews with over 260 scientists, administrators, and journalists, Taubes dissects the cold fusion episode with wit and clarity, tracing the untold inside story of scientific research gone awry and academic politics out of control: from the devout physicist and his Department of Energy funding agent who set the wheels of the fiasco in motion, to the University of Utah president whose sole dream was to turn his institution into an intellectual powerhouse. Taubes unveils the darker side of science, where politics, ambition, and misguided obsession can corrupt its ethics and its purpose. Bad Science is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how science functions and what can happen when the scientific method is jettisoned in the pursuit of wealth and glory. As a story of morality, philosophy, and pathology, it is destined to become a classic of science journalism.

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