They All Laughed: Anecdotes From the Lives of the Great Scientists

“Invention is a very tough business. It takes a thick skin and the ability to keep smiling after constantly hearing the word no” – Ira Flatow

Behind every invention there will be a story. Those who dig could find it!

It is indeed a pleasure to read anecdotes from the lives of the great men! And rarely we could find a good book that gives anecdotes only, especially from the lives of the great scientists.

The book under review titled ‘They all laughed’ is fulfilling our search towards that direction. Written by Ira Flatow, the book consists of 24 chapters that cover the fascinating stories behind the great inventions from light bulbs to lasers.

Ira Flatow was science reporter for CBS This Morning and NPR’s All Things Considered. He has written many articles and books.

There are fascinating facts about Ben Franklin, Edison, Westinghouse, George Eastman, John Baird, Chester F Carlson and Willy etc.

Read the following facts, and then you will be surprised!

Ben Franklin’s kite was never struck with lightning.

When Remington introduced the first typewriter, surprisingly most people did not find it useful!

When Carlson received a patent for electrophotography his wife yelled at him, “Move out of my kitchen”! So he moved to the back of a beauty shop. No one wanted the Xerox machine initially!

The idea for transmitting messages by laser dates backs to 1880s.

The fax is older than the telephone and the radio! The invention of telephone is indeed a happy accident!

Astronauts faced a unique problem during their space travel; how to keep track of all of their stuff that are floating! The answer was Velcro – derived from velvet and crochet. Velcro was first made in France and now NASA uses ribbons of unique fastening material. George de Mestral invented Velcro!

Microwave popcorn was accidentally invented in 1946 by Percy L.Spencer. Actually he patented 120 inventions!

All the above facts are written based on an extensive research by the author Ira Flatow.

The book could be used by science teachers in order to make their subject very interesting. At home, parents could tell stories behind the great inventions to their children!

Ira Flatow may write some more books covering more anecdotes. It would be better to keep them brief to make them more interesting to read!

I recommend this book to those likeminded persons like me who constantly search for good anecdotes!

S. Nagarajan has written more than 3000 articles in Tamil in 18 magazines and published 52 books. He has written hundred articles in so far. He reviews the best books also regularly for the benefit of book lovers.

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