Simon Levay, a neuroscientist and author best known for his 1991 study suggesting a structural difference in the brains of homosexual and heterosexual men, just published his latest book. You might have seen him talk about “When Science Goes Wrong” on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. If you missed it like I did, the interview is now available online on the website of the Daily Show.
Publisher’s Weekly has this to say about the book: “Experimental brain surgery goes horribly awry; a dam fails catastrophically; a geologist leads an ill-equipped party to its doom in the mouth of an active volcano: these are the amazing and sometimes horrific stories of technical errors and scientific mistakes that LeVay (The Sexual Brain) relates. Some, like the case of the British meteorologist who failed to predict a hurricane that killed 18 people, seem due to arrogance. Others—the loss of a costly spacecraft, a criminal conviction based on inaccurate DNA analysis, multiple deaths after an accidental release of anthrax—are the result of ordinary human error. Some incidents may well have been deliberate, such as a nuclear reactor error that was possibly the result of a love triangle gone bad, or the data falsified by a physicist seeking fame as the discoverer of a new element. LeVay surveys a range of fields, offering several reasons why things go wrong and noting that for every brilliant scientific success, there are a dozen failures. Readers curious about particularly notorious cases will find LeVay’s book both entertaining and thought provoking.”
The book is now available at your favorite book store.