Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science

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For many, science is a realm of magical mystery, a domain populated by revered researchers clothed in white coats who are differentiated from the average worker by their altruistic goals. Not quite so, according to the tales of scientific criminal activities told by the outstanding science storyteller Sam Kean. Scientists, like other humans, seek rewards and acclaim for their efforts and egos, and they may go to any lengths to achieve satisfaction.

Here, in this chronology of bizarre behavior, read about the 18th century pirate naturalist William Ampler, or the insect collector Henry Smeatham, who despite misgivings was sucked into the slave trade. Follow the medical anatomists and their students as they rob graves, or enter a Harvard basement to find a dismembered body. Shudder at the sight of the electric chair generated by the dispute between Edison and Tesla. Gasp at the childish escapades of Cope and Marsh in the competitive race to unearth dinosaur bones, or even more distressing, recall the morbid results of unchallenged lobotomy therapies and infant sex-change surgeries.

So much mischief and harm is so evocatively recorded and amply detailed with compassion and wit. One can only agree with the author’s plea for the implementation of ethical guidelines in this experimental field.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 368 pages
Publisher Hachette
Publish Date 13-Jul-2021
ISBN 9780316496506 Buy this Book
Issue July 2021
Category Science & Nature