Cover Image: Innovators


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Member Reviews

This is a fantastic deep dive into the social aspects of being a scientist; other scientists and their overwhelming human-ness. The science does not exist in a vacuum but is birthed into a social order.

The author has personal experience with Planck's Principal. Then Planck is the first "innovator" to be profiled. So, perhaps it is a little self-indulgent. However, the historical detail and scientific context of each innovator are extremely well-researched. The book is clearly explained so that even an artsy person like me could follow and I felt like many phrases were opened up for me in this book.

"Quantum Computing" is not a scary concept anymore, and authors like Douglas Adams and Madelaine L'Engle, who use a lot of scientific terminology, seem less abstract.

Absolutely fantastic!

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Unfortunately, I was unable to download this book before it was archived and so am leaving this as a review/explanation. I have already bought a copy and will leave a review on places like Amazon, Goodreads, Waterstones, etc, once I've completed it and formed my thoughts on it. Apologies for any inconvenience and thank you for the opportunity.

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Donald R. Kirsch brings some of the great scientific minds of the last five hundred years to life in this book on the history of science. Blending scientific discoveries from the last two centuries with early modern scientific minds from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Kirsch brings the history of science and the evolutions within the various scientific disciplines into conversation with each other. Focusing on case studies of various scientists, Kirsch highlights the parallel developments of scientific concepts by various individuals, bringing them in conversation with others working on similar discoveries and theories. The structure and prose of the book is straightforward, and Kirsch adds images of the various scientists throughout the book to give readers a visual element. He also explains the various scientific concepts and theories very well, in a way that people without science background can understand. The variety and detail of information in this book is particularly enjoyable, and Kirsch goes into incredible (yet understandable) scientific detail in every chapter of the book for every scientific mind he discusses. This book is easily accessible for readers of all backgrounds, and scientists and historians alike are sure to enjoy Innovators by Donald R Kirsch.

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"Innovation is tough. One should be compassionate toward creative people in all fields of endeavor. Their contributions to the human condition are of extraordinary value, while at the same time creative people often suffer deeply in their struggle to achieve validation and recognition"

In this work, Kirsch tells many stories of scientific innovation, spanning centuries and disciplines. Kirsch writes in a way that feels approachable to non-science folk, without over simplifying the science. He spends a lot of time talking about the story behind the science, the challenges these innovators face, the successes they have, and the legacies they leave. This book is a pleasant blend of biography, history, and science. Kirsch peppers in his own stories on occasion, which feel a little tangential, but not in a distracting way. Kirsch's writing made me feel like I was in a lecture hall where Professor Kirsch gets really excited about the topic and had his own bits of wisdom to share to make things feel more real and personal to the audience.

I think Innovators will get the "I don't like science" students interested in and appreciative of the struggle and humanity that goes into the development of new science and technology. Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read and review.

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Scientific revolutions hinge on overcoming established thinking to embrace new realities. This book profiles 16 visionaries across diverse fields, from physics to earth science, whose perseverance led to transformative yet delayed breakthroughs like continental drift and global warming. By spotlighting the dismissals faced by innovators like Gregor Mendel and Rachel Carson, it reveals the stubborn resistance even to discoveries that profoundly advanced human knowledge.

This book is fascinating and easy to read. The stories are human and sometimes heartbreaking, but also show that in science, truth eventually prevails.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

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*Innovators* offers good coverage of a large number of scientists whose work wasn't accepted at first or even during their lifetime. The work is often unexpected results or big leaps forward that took time for the community to process. Every example you can think of is here, and many you didn't know about, and the topic is covered at a level that a high-schooler could read and understand. Adults ought to get just as much out of it. The author covers climate change, of course, but lucklily this isn't all built around that one topic and we move on quickly enough.

I think the book's flaw is that so much of this is presented that the reader begins like to feel like it's the norm and starts asking "so what?". The author does not offer any solutions to the issue, as the book wraps up with its last entry. Neither does it get into the "why" of things to any depth, so I was left wanting a liltle more.

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