Polywater (英語) ハードカバー – 1981/4/23
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Polywater was supposed to be an alternate form of ordinary H2O in which the molecules were linked to produce a strange new substance, denser and far more viscous than water, which remained a liquid all the way from -70 degrees Fahrenheit to almost 500 degrees. --このテキストは、絶版本またはこのタイトルには設定されていない版型に関連付けられています。
"Polywater was supposed to be an alternate form of ordinary H2O in which the molecules were linked to produce a strange new substance, denser and far more viscous than water, which remained a liquid all the way from -70 degrees Fahrenheit to almost 500 degrees. It could be produced only by condensation in extremely thin capillary tubes. Even from 1968 to 1972, when hundreds of researchers participated in the Polywater boom, the world's supposed total supply was measured in drops. Naturally that made polywater hard to study and delayed the emergence of the boring, bitter truth: that polywater was nothing more than a solution of impurities....
"There have been many good books about successful scientific research, but Polywater is especially valuable as a reminder of all the research that leads nowhere.... For most laymen, however, the message of Polywater may be encouraging: there is, after all, something wonderful about an enterprise in which people can feel so much remorse and chagrin, not over cruelty, treachery, or hypocrisy, but simply over being enthusiastically and publicly wrong."
- Discover --このテキストは、絶版本またはこのタイトルには設定されていない版型に関連付けられています。
It also avoids the taking-sides-against-the-idiots tone of many similar works such as Gary Taubes' Bad Science.
So-called Polywater was thought to have been a new form of water when it was "produced" by a Russian scientist named Fedyakin in the 1960s. Another Russian named Deryagin took up research into the product after Fedyakin stopped his work. Deryagin was the one who caused the research to come to the attention of scientists outside of the (then) USSR. Polywater came to be of high interest in certain scientific circles. At least one scientist thought that the product could be dangerous and that preliminary controls should be put into place before further research.
It is unnecessary to give a spoiler alert to readers that the new water was soon shown to be plain water that was tainted by the quartz/glass tubes in which it had been isolated. The main subject of the book is the recriminations between interested parties, including scientists and others who weren't (such as editors), after the truth became known. There were "I told you so's" and accusations of faulty research. Research grants dried up. Dr. Franks believes that scientists involved in the matter should have remembered the purpose of research - to learn what is true and what is false (my words).
The last chapter is titled Pathological Science which one expert has defined as "the science of things that aren't so." I found it to be the most interesting chapter in the book. It goes into the "whys and wherefores" such disputes arise and what they consist of.
Some readers will find <Polywater> to be overly wordy as previously stated. Yet the author I feel sure, believed that matters needed to be made exquisitely clear. But even if wordy in my view, the quality of the writing is excellent. The writer knows his subject. I believe that readers such as engineers and sociologists could find the book much to their tastes. However most serious readers should be able to enjoy and learn from the book which is around 200 pgs. in length.
The writing is very nice and entertaining. I really like the analogy with Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle book.