The Essential Mad Scientist Reading List

It’s been a while, but now that the holiday frenzy has subsided, it’s time to put my nose to the keyboard and work on the blog once again. I’ve been both gratified and overwhelmed by the positive response to the book, They Called Me Mad: Genius, Madness and the Scientists Who Pushed the Outer Limits of Knowledge.

People seem to enjoy reading it nearly as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 One of the criticisms that I’ve gotten about it, however, is that the book doesn’t include a suggested reading list. I must apologize. It was clearly an oversight. One of the great joys I had researching the book was reading so many wonderful books about the scientists who contributed to the legend of the mad scientists. I never intended my book to be the final word on the topic, merely as a starting point for readers who wished to learn more about the dynamic world of science and the fascinating, passionate, and should we say, unique, individuals, who pursue it.

 To remedy the situation, I’d like to recommend a sampling of the books I used in my research:

 1)      Alexandria: City of the Western Mind by Theodore Vrettos

2)      American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

3)      The Devil’s Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science by Philip Ball

4)      Dignifying Science: Stories About Women Scientists by Jim Ottaviani et al

5)      Dr. Space: The Life of Wernher von Braun by Bob Ward

6)      Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

7)      The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America by Steven Johnson

8)      The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery by Wendy Moore

9)      Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie by Barbara Goldsmith

10)   Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla by Marc J. Seifer

 This isn’t meant to be an all inclusive list. Think of it as an intriguing appetizer, something to whet your appetite for science.


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