Failure: Why Science is so Successful

Those who practice science know that research is full of wrong turns, cul-de-sacs, mistaken identities, false findings, errors of fact and judgement, and only the occasional success. Firestein, the author of the highly praised Ignorance, argues that the view that science is infallible originates in an education system that teaches nothing but facts and is proliferated by media who report on discoveries but almost never on process. Firestein shows us that scientific enterprise is, and should be, riddled with failures. The book will give the non-scientifically trained public an insider’s view of how science is actually done, with the aim of making it accessible, comprehensible, and entertaining.

Stuart firestein teaches Neuroscience at Columbia University, where his laboratory investigates the mysteries of the mammalian olfactory system, the sense of smell. He has published more than 100 papers in scientific and scholarly journals, and is the author of Ignorance: How it Drives Science. He was Chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences from 2010-2013. Dedicated to promoting the accessibility of science to a public audience, he serves as an advisor for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s program for the Public Understanding of Science. He is based in New York, NY.