Free Radicals

Free Radicals

The Secret Anarchy of Science

Additional Formats
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781590208540
  • 320  Pages
  • Adult


The thrilling exploration of the secret side of scientific discovery –proving that some rules were meant to be broken scientists have colluded in the most successful cover-up of modern times. They present themselves as cool, logical, and level-headed, when the truth is that they will do anything –take drugs, follow mystical visions, lie and even cheat –to make a discovery. They are often more interested in starting revolutions than in playing by the rules. In Free Radicals, bestselling author Michael Brooks reveals the extreme lengths some of our most celebrated scientists –such as Newton, Einstein, and Watson and Crick –are willing to go to, from fraud to reckless, unethical experiments, in order to make new discoveries and bring them to the world’s attention.


"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."
"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
"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
"Free Radicals is an exuberant tour through the world of scientists behaving badly."
Penguin Hotline