The march of science has been marked through the years by episodes of drama and comedy, of failure as well as triumph, by outrageous strokes of luck, deserved and undeserved, and sometimes by human tragedy. From the death of Archimedes at the hands of an irritated Roman soldier to the concoction of a superconducting witches' brew at the close of the twentieth century, the stories in Eurekas and Euphorias pour out, told with wit and relish by Walter Gratzer.
Open this book at random and you may chance on the clumsy chemist named Sapper who broke a thermometer in a reaction vat and made the discovery that launched the modern dyestuff industry. Or the physicist who dissolved his gold Nobel Prize medal in acid to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Nazis. We meet mathematicians and physicists in prison cells, and even in a madhouse, making important advances in their field. And we witness the careers, sometimes tragic, sometimes carefree, of the great women scientists, from Hypatia of Alexandria, to Sophie Germain and Sonia Kovalevskaya, to Marie Curie and her relentless battle with the French Academy. A glorious parade unfolds to delight the reader, with stories to astonish, to instruct, and most especially, to entertain.