Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lives of the Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought)

Lives of the Scientists:  Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought)
by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt
Harcourt, 2013. 96 pgs. Nonfiction

     Kathleen Krull provides her usual light-hearted and succinctly informative look at famous characters in this book about well-known and hardly-known scientists. We are all taught to feel compassion for Galileo, who was persecuted by the Church for telling the truth, but Galileo was no fun to be around either, abusing everyone who was not as smart as he was, which was everyone, to his mind. Isaac Newton really did get his ideas about gravitational forces after an apple fell on him, but George Washington Carver didn't invent peanut butter, though he made it taste better. No one paid much attention to Barbara McClintock until she won the Nobel Prize for her pioneering work in genetics, but after she became famous, she wore a Groucho Marx nose, mustache, and glasses in public so no one would know who she was. Einstein was a jerk to his family, but really liked jokes, and Edwin Hubble really liked astronomy and himself, not necessarily in that order. Kids--and their significant elders--who like to see the human face of science, along with its sometimes life-altering, worldview-changing aspect, will love this book. (And the others in Krull's series like it.)

    

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