Free Radicals

Free Radicals

The Secret Anarchy of Science

Additional Formats
  • ePub
  • ISBN 9781468301717
  • 320 Pages
  • Adult


Scientists have colluded in the most successful cover-up of modern times. They present themselves as cool, logical, and levelheaded, relying exclusively on facts and passionless interpretations of painstakingly researched results. But the truth is scientists will do anything–take drugs, follow mystical visions, lie, and even cheat–to make a discovery. In Free Radicals, physicist and journalist Michael Brooks seamlessly weaves together true stories of the "mad, bad and dangerous" (The Times) men and women who have revolutionized the scientific world into a fast-paced and thrilling exploration of the real process behind discovery. Brooks also traces the cover-up back to its source: the scientific establishment’s reaction to the public fear of science after World War II. He argues that it its high time for science to come clean about just how bold and daring scientists really are.


"A salutary reminder that scientists are as human and fallible as anyone else."
– –Daily Telegraph
"Fun to read. Brooks . . . capers through the exploits of scores of brilliant and often ruthless rogues."
– –Financial Times
"A call to arms . . . Not some idealistic crusade; it has important implications."
– –BBC
"Brooks raises intriguing questions about the value of peer review panels and ethics boards, while illuminating much of the gritty real work performed in ivory towers around the world."
– –Publishers Weekly
"Not all scientists are nerds. In Free Radicals, physicist Michael Brooks tries to dispel the notion that scientists are stuffy, pen-protector-polishing bookworms."
– –Washington Post
"Insightful . . . a page-turning, unvarnished look at the all-too-human side of science."
– –Kirkus Reviews
"Mr. Brooks call for scientists to lift their heads and raise their voices while the rest of us ask hard questions and demand institutions that will bring more visionaries into play . . . Free Radicals presents a solid case."
– –New York Journal of Books
"Free Radicals illuminates the role of the irrational in science, the mistakes that make scientists human, and reveals that breakthroughs that change our lives in the most fundamental ways may have the most serendipitous origins."
– –Brain Pickings
"[Free Radicals] goes a long way toward making scientists–and science–a lot more real to the public."
– –Science 2.0
"Free Radicals is an exuberant tour through the world of scientists behaving badly."
"Free Radicals reminds readers that scientific advances sometimes require creativity and vision . . . A fascinating book."
"Brooks lays out, in fascinating–and often horrifying and discomfiting detail–the anarchy that underlies the scientific endeavor . . . it is a must read for every scientist on the planet, as well as anyone interested in science."
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