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Farmer Buckley's Exploding Trousers: And Other Odd Events on the Way to Scientific Discovery

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  96 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The irresistible stories in Farmer Buckley's Exploding Trousers reveals the little-known byways of scientific progress, where setbacks and mishaps are the norm, breakthroughs are the exception, and advances meant to improve people's lives can spectacularly backfire.

Meticulously research by the internationally acclaimed New Scientist magazine, these stories of haphazard dis
ebook, 211 pages
Published May 26th 2011 by Profile Books(GB) (first published January 1st 2011)
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David Schwan
Jan 11, 2014 David Schwan rated it really liked it
A short fun book that looks at some obscure events that led to scientific discoveries. Highlights include the treating of cancer by viruses, the inventor who used X-ray's as a tool to eliminate skin blemishes (very popular, very dangerous and in use through the 1950's), the accidentally made tropical rain forest. This book does a good job of showing that new discoveries can be due as much to serendipity as hard work.
Sep 28, 2014 Jeanette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This historical and scientific non-fiction book is not going to be for everyone. But if you love science, as much or not more than you love history, and are intrigued in how methods become "invented" or how products developed- this book will be enjoyed.

The Farmer's pants are the least interesting chapter, but made a snappy title. Deaths were caused by this interaction of an early weed (ragweed) killer compound on wool or cloth cottons while dispensing. Buckley was lucky as his were not on at the
Dec 08, 2015 Eliatan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read New Scientist for years, and was expecting to find some repeat content in this book, but was pleasantly surprised to discover all new information. Good science is about good stories, and these were well written, very accessible and very left field... lots of great factoids for small talk with strangers. Think Horrible Histories for grown ups. I bought this for my science mad son, and it was a winner for us both. And while maybe you can't judge a book by its cover, you can judge it by i ...more
Mar 14, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, f, female-author
An interesting and informative book about different scientific discoveries and how they came about. Very easy to read in small chunks as each discovery covers no more than about 4 pages. However, it didn’t have the same type of charm and enjoyment for me as the New Scientist Question books such as will we ever speak dolphin and I cannot really put my finger on why. I think it is probably because it is stating why has happened already and doesn’t have the same kind of humour because it doesn’t co ...more
Jim Whitefield
Jan 13, 2012 Jim Whitefield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This little gem from 'New Scientist' is packed with dozens of very short stories about obscure scientific discovery and advancements, some accidental discoveries and and some not so great ideas that never made it. Every entry is interesting and entertaining and some are also funny - as with Farmer Buckley's trousers which really did explode. The things I didn't know! Enlightening and sometimes surprising; it is the perfect volume to keep in the loo to read while seated on the throne - or to take ...more
❂ Jennifer
Dec 29, 2011 ❂ Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, science
Excellent series of essays/short stories about some of the more interesting ways science has advanced throughout the ages. One or two are cringe worthy, but almost every single one of the stories contains some fascinating fact. The essays are based on the "Histories" section of NewScientist Magazine, an excellent publication in it's own right. I'll be looking for more of the books NewScientist has put out in the future. Very easy to read, written for anyone interested in science but not interest ...more
Jun 05, 2012 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Farmer Buckley's Exploding Trousers & other odd events on the way to Scientific Discovery is a collection of nutty scientific facts and anecdotes where serendipity paved the way for great discoveries. Some are funny, some are fascinating and some are just depressing that they failed to take hole (solar power, for example).

It's a short and easy read and can be enjoyed in tiny bites or massive chunks. Like chocolate.
Kallen Kentner
With a title like that, how could you resist picking up this book? Better yet, through a series of essays, often surprising, often amusing and always interesting, this book explores the lesser-known stories of scientific discovery, missteps.... and failure.

Read the full review on GeekyLibrary.
Paul Childs
If you like short stories of historical discoveries that are summed up quickly and somewhat interesting then this is a good book to pick up. I covers some discoveries you have heard about, some that were before their time, and others that where too late in being discovered to be of much use.
Kevin Lanahan
This is a book of short essays on how various things got discovered. It's a history of science and engineering, and nicely written, but is not particularly compelling.

I would recommend it as bathroom reading, since the stories are generally short and unrelated to the next.
Jan 11, 2014 Anwen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable bathroom reading
Apr 10, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book is divided in short chapters, each telling the story of a scientific discovery. The stories are never boring and the language is not too academic. I really enjoyed the book and can recommend it to everybody (not only to science Freaks :)
Mat Surtees
May 01, 2013 Mat Surtees rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up on offer in a waterstones bargain bin, and I didn't put it down til I'd read all the amusing anecdotes about scientific discoveries gone slightly awry. A great read!!
Paul Cuthbert
May 15, 2012 Paul Cuthbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was an easy read of short stories. I enjoyed them and they weren't very obvious where they were going. I like anecdotes and this was very anecdotal.
Danie Cutter
Interesting facts but very drily written. Would best with stories condensed even further and left for the geeky blokes to read in the bathroom
Jun 10, 2014 Christof rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-sci
Quite a few interesting historical accounts of scientific breakthroughs. Most accounts just scratch the surface though.
Aug 02, 2013 Cat. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, essays, trivia
Fun-but-serious essays on how the creative process works--and sometimes doesn't work--in mysterious ways.
Abraham Ray
it was ok, just not for me that's all.
Ed Jakeman
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May 17, 2016
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