In The Discoveries, Alan Lightman writes a forward to what he considers the twenty-two most consequential scientific discoveries of the 20th Century. From Max Planck’s discovery of the quantum to Linus Pauling’s theory of the chemical bond, Lightman walks his readers through the backgrounds of the scientists, the gritty details of the experiments, and the effect these papers had on the arc of scientific pursuit. Then, following every forward, he presents the actual paper in question, mostly in full.

The format — what I call a science preface — is one of my favorite types of science writing, but it’s…

David Lang

Entrepreneur and writer working at the intersection of science, conservation, and technology.

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