The Scientists

An Epic of Discovery

Andrew Robinson


Seventy articles expertly curated by biographer Andrew Robinson to provide an unrivalled account of the lives and personalities behind the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all time


Scientific progress has always been driven by strong personalities and the experiments, discoveries, theories and inventions of great scientists have revolutionized the ways we understand the world and the way we live. Think of gravity, evolution, relativity, radioactivity, the genetic code and the Big Bang; electric motors, nuclear power, synthetic drugs, brain scanning, computers and the internet.

This book tells the remarkable lives of the pioneers – from Galileo and Newton, Faraday and Darwin, Pasteur and Marie Curie, to Einstein, Freud, Turing and Crick and Watson. Often unorthodox thinkers, these scientists frequently had to struggle to gain recognition for their work, in order to leave their legacy to future generations.

Written by an international team of distinguished scientists, historians of science and science writers, the book covers all of the major scientific disciplines, from astronomy to psychology. It begins at the largest scale with the ‘Universe’, and moves to progressively smaller scales through the ‘Earth’ and ‘Molecules and Matter’ to ‘Inside the Atom’. The last two sections look at the phenomena of ‘Life’ and ‘Body and Mind’.

Each of the forty-three outstanding individuals is portrayed in engravings, paintings, photographs and sculptures. In addition, the book reproduces many of their own notes, drawings and diagrams, along with their letters that allow a more intimate view into their journeys of discovery.

Read More


'This excellent celebration of the evolution of science over the centuries should be of broad interest to scientists and non-scientists alike - it will also be a wonderful stimulus to young people thinking about a career in science'
The Lancet

'The human face of scientific breakthroughs from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries is spotlit in this sumptuously illustrated volume.… a sampler of the driven, complex, fascinating characters who fomented scientific revolutions'

Related Topics

Further Details


Format: Hardback

Size: 24.5 x 18.5 cm

Extent: 304 pp

Publication date: 17 September 2012

ISBN: 9780500251911

Contents List

Universe: Nicolaus Copernicus • Johannes Kepler • Galileo Galilei • Isaac Newton • Michael Faraday • James Clerk Maxwell • Albert Einstein • Edwin Powell Hubble • Earth: James Hutton • Charles Lyell • Alexander von Humboldt • Alfred Wegener • Molecules and Matter: Robert Boyle • Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier • John Dalton • Dmitri Mendeleev • August Kekulé • Dorothy Crowfoot • Hodgkin Chandrasekhara • Venkata Raman • Inside the Atom: Marie Curie and Pierre Curie • Ernest Rutherford • Niels Bohr • Linus Carl Pauling • Enrico Fermi • Hideki Yukawa • Life: Carl Linnaeus • Jan IngenHousz • Charles Darwin • Gregor Mendel • Jan Purkinje • Santiago Ramón y Cajal • Francis Crick and James Watson • Body and Mind: Andreas Vesalius • William Harvey • Louis Pasteur • Francis Galton • Sigmund Freud • Alan Turing • John von Neumann • Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey

About the Author

Andrew Robinson has written more than 25 books on the arts and sciences. They include Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts, India: A Short History and Earthshock, which won the Association of Earth Science Editors Outstanding Publication Award, plus Earth-Shattering Events . A regular contributor to such magazines as Current World Archaeology, History Today, The Lancet, Nature and Science, he has also been literary editor of The Times Higher Education Supplement and a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge.

List of Contributors

Andrew Robinson, Naomi Pasachoff, Jay Pasachoff, Rob Iliffe, Frank A.J.L. James, Jordi Cat, Patrick Moore, Martin Rudwick, Laura Dassow Walls, Roger McCoy, Michael Hunter, Jean-Pierre Poirier, Alan Rocke, Nathan Brooks, Georgina Ferry, Virendra Singh, Frank Close, Andrew Whitaker, Robert Paradowski