E-Book Club – Failure: Why Science is So Successful

Ebook club Failure image

Join the Scientific Library in reading the E-book Failure: Why Science is So Successful by Stuart Firestein during the Scientific Library E-Book Club throughout June and July 2020. Read the E-book by accessing the online version via Ebook Central, and join in eight discussion sessions over WebEx.

Book Description (from E-book Central): The general public has a glorified view of the pursuit of scientific research. However, the idealized perception of science as a rule-based, methodical system for accumulating facts could not be further from the truth. Modern science involves the idiosyncratic, often bumbling search for understanding in uncharted territories, full of wrong turns, false findings, and the occasional remarkable success. In his sequel to Ignorance (Oxford University Press, 2012), Stuart Firestein shows us that the scientific enterprise is riddled with mistakes and errors - and that this is a good thing! Failure: Why Science Is So Successful delves into the origins of scientific research as a process that relies upon trial and error, one which inevitably results in a hefty dose of failure. In fact, scientists throughout history have relied on failure to guide their research, viewing mistakes as a necessary part of the process. Citing both historical and contemporary examples, Firestein strips away the distorted view of science as infallible to provide the public with a rare, inside glimpse of the messy realities of the scientific process. An insider's view of how science is actually carried out, this book will delight anyone with an interest in science, from aspiring scientists to curious general readers. Accessible and entertaining, Failure illuminates the greatest and most productive adventure of human history, with all the missteps along the way.

Access the E-Book

NCI at Frederick staff can access the Failure: Why Science is So Successful by reading it online through Ebook Central. Staff who are offsite and not using VPN will first need to log in using Scientific Library Off-Site Access (Library Account required) before opening the Ebook Central link.

Contact Library Staff for additional assistance with accessing the E-book.

E-Book Club Discussion Schedule

The E-Book Club will meet once a week throughout June and July 2020 over WebEx to discuss two chapters at a time. During the scheduled times below, join the WebEx meeting to participate in the chapter discussions.

Email NCIFredLibrary@mail.nih.gov to be added to the mailing list for the E-Book Club, and receive discussion questions and other E-Book Club announcements.

  • Wednesday June 3, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.– Introduction and “Chapter 1: Failing to Define Failure”
  • Wednesday June 10, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – “Chapter 2: Fail Better: Advice from Samuel Beckett” and “Chapter 3: The Scientific Basis of Failure”
  • Wednesday June 17, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – “Chapter 4: The Unreasonable Success of Failure“ and “Chapter 5: The Integrity of Failure“
  • Wednesday June 24, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. - “Chapter 6: Teaching Failure“ and “Chapter 7: The Arc of Failure“
  • Wednesday July 1, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. - “Chapter 8: The Scientific Method of Failure“ and “Chapter 9: Failure in the Clinic“
  • Wednesday July 8, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. - “Chapter 10: Negative Results: How to Love Your Data When It’s Wrong “ and “Chapter 11: Philosopher of Failure“
  • Wednesday July 15, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. - “Chapter 12: Funding Failure“ and “Chapter 13: Pharma Failure“
  • Wednesday July 22, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. - “Chapter 14: A Plurality of Failures“ and “Chapter 15: Coda“