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Galileo and the Leaning Tower of Pisa ✸ vii Contents List of Myths and Apparent Myths ix Preface xi Acknowledgments xvii 1. Galileo and the Leaning Tower of Pisa 1 2. Galileo’s Pythagorean Heresy 13 3. Newton’s Apple and the Tree of Knowledge 47 4. The Stone of the Ancients 70 5. Darwin’s Missing Frogs 95 6. Ben Franklin’s Electric Kite 118 7. Coulomb’s Impossible Experiment? 128 8. Thomson, Plum-Pudding, and Electrons 147 9. Did Einstein Believe in God? 164 10. A Myth about the Speed of Light 172 11. The Cult of the Quiet Wife 193 12. Einstein and the Clock Towers of Bern 206 13. The Secret of Einstein’s Creativity? 216 14. Eugenics and the Myth of Equality 229 Epilogue 247 Notes 257 Illustration Sources and Credits 315 Index 317 vii viii ✸ Galileo and the Leaning Tower of Pisa Galileo and the Leaning Tower of Pisa ✸ ix List of Myths and Apparent Myths Did Galileo drop objects from the Leaning Tower of Pisa? 1 Was Galileo born right after Michelangelo died? 8 Was Ptolemy’s system more complicated than Copernicus’s system? 20 Did Luther and Calvin condemn Copernicus? 22 Did nearly nobody read the book of Copernicus? 23 Did Aristotle posit crystalline spheres in the heavens? 25 Did the Inquisition kill Bruno for believing in Copernicus? 30 Did Pythagoras believe that Earth moves? 40 Did Galileo defy the Inquisition, saying“But it moves”? 44 Was Newton born in the same year that Galileo died? 47 Did a falling apple inspire Newton to conceive of universal gravity? 48 Did Pythagoras know the inverse square law of gravity? 56 Did Pythagoras discover the laws of musical harmony? 56 Is Newton’s apple tree still alive? 65 Did Pythagoras master alchemical transmutation? 72 Did Pythagoras learn secrets from the Egyptians? 73 Did Boyle discover Boyle’s law? 81 Did Boyle advocate skepticism against alchemy? 81 Is it impossible to convert dull metals into gold? 91 Has nobody become rich with the Philosophers’ Stone? 93 Did finches inspire Darwin to his theory of evolution? 95 Did Benjamin Franklin fly a kite in a thunderstorm? 118 Did Coulomb fake his proof of an inverse square law? 128 Did J. J. Thomson imagine plum-pudding in the atom? 148 Did J. J. Thomson discover the electron? 149 Did Einstein believe in God? 164 ix Do experiments show that the velocity of light is constant? 172 Did Einstein’s wife secretly contribute to his theories? 193 Was Einstein inspired to relativity by Swiss clock towers? 206 Is it impossible to change human nature with eugenics? 229 Did Marx want to dedicate Das Kapital to Darwin? 250 x ✸ List of Myths and Apparent Myths ...


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