Failure: Why Science Is So Successful

Hardcover | September 9, 2015

byStuart Firestein

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The general public has a glorified view of the pursuit of scientific research. However, the idealized perception of science as a rule-based, methodical system for accumulating facts could not be further from the truth. Modern science involves the idiosyncratic, often bumbling search forunderstanding in uncharted territories, full of wrong turns, false findings, and the occasional remarkable success. In his sequel to Ignorance (Oxford University Press, 2012), Stuart Firestein shows us that the scientific enterprise is riddled with mistakes and errors - and that this is a good thing! Failure: Why Science Is So Successful delves into the origins of scientific research as a process that relies upontrial and error, one which inevitably results in a hefty dose of failure. In fact, scientists throughout history have relied on failure to guide their research, viewing mistakes as a necessary part of the process. Citing both historical and contemporary examples, Firestein strips away the distortedview of science as infallible to provide the public with a rare, inside glimpse of the messy realities of the scientific process. An insider's view of how science is actually carried out, this book will delight anyone with an interest in science, from aspiring scientists to curious general readers. Accessible and entertaining, Failure illuminates the greatest and most productive adventure of human history, with all themissteps along the way.

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The general public has a glorified view of the pursuit of scientific research. However, the idealized perception of science as a rule-based, methodical system for accumulating facts could not be further from the truth. Modern science involves the idiosyncratic, often bumbling search forunderstanding in uncharted territories, full of wr...

Stuart Firestein is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, where his highly popular course on ignorance invites working scientists to come talk to students each week about what they don't know. Dedicated to promoting science to a public audience, he serves as an advisor for the Alfred P...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:282 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:September 9, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019939010X

ISBN - 13:9780199390106

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Failing to Define Failure3. Fail Better: Advice from Samuel Beckett4. The Scientific Basis of Failure5. The Unreasonable Success of Failure6. The Integrity of Failure7. Teaching Failure8. The Arc of Failure9. The Scientific Method of Failure10. Failure in the Clinic11. How to Love Your Data When It's Wrong: Negative Results12. Philosopher of Failure13. Funding Failure14. A Plurality of Failures15. CODANotesIndex