Reviews: BEAUTIFUL EXPERIMENTS: An Illustrated History of Experimental Science

Book cover image of Beautiful Experiments: An Illustrated History of Experimental ScienceBeautiful Experiments: An Illustrated History of Experimental Science by Philip Ball

“Although experimentation is arguably the backbone of modern science, historians of science have often tended to focus their studies on theoretical developments. . . . Ball aims to rectify that disparity in his new book Beautiful Experiments, which outlines sixty investigations carried out from antiquity to the present day. Ball groups the experiments into six chapters, each of which focuses on themes, including the behavior of organisms, the nature of light, and the nature of life. He complements those efforts with five meditative interludes that delve into philosophical or aesthetic topics relating to experimentation, such as how to define an experiment, why thought experiments are useful, and what scientists mean when they say an experiment is beautiful. The richly illustrated book is a treat for the eyes.”
Physics Today

“Beautiful Experiments is an engrossing tour through 2500 years of innovation, imagination, and colorful personalities. Too often, experiments are dropped out of science history, assumed to be yet another tool that scientists use to construct theories. Ball brings experiments—in all their materiality, ingenuity, and beauty—back not only into history but into human culture.”
Robert P. Crease, author of “The Prism and the Pendulum: The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments in Science”

BUY ON AMAZONPublished in Fall/Autumn 2023

Published by University of Chicago Press, 2023

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