We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Defining Moments in Science

Not Exactly Rocket Science
By Ed Yong
Sep 22, 2008 8:00 PMNov 5, 2019 2:10 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Well this is exciting... A year ago, I was asked to contribute to a book that would detail 1000 awesome scientific thinkers, discoveries and events over the last century, to be called the Little Black Book of Science. And after a long silence, it's finally out, albeit under the much less good title of "Defining Moments in Science".

I wrote 20 of the 1000 articles (2%, for the percentage-inclined) and in total, the book represents the combined efforts of 60 or so of the UK's finest science writers, including one of my co-bloggers at Cancer Research UK, Kat Arney. Many thanks to Hayley Birch and the good people at Null Hypothesis for editing the not-insubstantial undertaking. It was a great chance to delve into some historical aspects of scientific discovery that I don't usually get to do.

The ones I did include:

  • Biographies of Richard Dawkins, Niko Tinbergen and Robert Winston.

  • Elizabeth Blackburn's discovery of telomeres.

  • The creation of chemotherapy

  • Raup and Sepkoski's work on mass extinctions

  • The classic study on predator-prey relationships with lynxes and hares

  • The discovery of anaphylaxis (poor, poor dog...)

  • The discovery of paracetamol

  • And the international success of Viagra.

Which marks the only time in my life that I have ever deliberately done a Google search for Viagra. Therein lies a world of horror and torment.

Unlike this book. Which you should get. Because it will be brill.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.