Description - Chemical Discovery and the Logicians' Program by Jerome A. Berson
What is it that turns a new observation into a true scientific discovery? And who may claim the credit? Theoreticians of science, the foremost thinkers of their times among them, have tried to answer these fundamental questions about the nature of scientific progress and discovery. With clear insight and the chemical as well as philosophical wisdom gained from over fifty years as a practising chemist, Jerome Berson puts their theories to the test. The development of chemistry into a "modern" science during the last two centuries provides him with ample cases to illustrate the way scientific progress really happens. Kekule's struggle to arrive at a structure for benzene, the paradigm change that was necessary to accept the reality of molecular rearrangements, and other episodes are retold here from the philosopher's as well as from the practitioner's perspective, shedding light on the way scientists think and act. Berson's account of the rather unphilosophical way in which scientific discoveries are made includes the realization that even a false hypothesis, such as Woodward's ideas about the biosynthesis of strychnine, may help rather than hinder scientific progress.
Scientists of all ages, as well as many non--scientists, will find this a highly readable and unusual book.
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(245mm x 172mm x 11mm)
Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Book Reviews - Chemical Discovery and the Logicians' Program by Jerome A. Berson
Author Biography - Jerome A. Berson
Jerome A. Berson received a B.S. in chemistry from the City College of New York in 1944. After a brief period in the industry with Hoffmann-La Roche in New Jersey, he served in the Army of the United Stated (1944-1946, China-Burma-India Theater). In 1946, he entered graduate study at Columbia University where he took M.A. and Ph.D. degrees with W. von E. Doering. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University (with R. B. Woodward) in 1949-1950. Subsequently, he taught chemistry at the University of Southern California (1950-1963), the University of Wisconsin (1963-1969), and Yale University (since 1969). He is presently Sterling Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Yale.
His research group has concentrated its efforts on the elucidation of reaction mechanisms and the synthesis of molecules of theoretical interest. In the latter category, a principal activity has been the study of non-Kekule compounds.
In recent years, he has written on the history of science, producing a number of articles and two books, both published by Wiley-VCH: Chemical Creativity (1999) and the present book, Chemical Discovery and the Logicians' Program.