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14th January 2003: "Eurekas and Euphorias"

What really goes on during scientific discovery? According to one author, it isnšt all earnest discussions in hallowed university halls. The march of science has been crossed through the years by episodes of drama and comedy, of failure as well as triumph, by outrageous strokes of luck, deserved and undeserved, and sometimes by human tragedy.

Sifting through centuries of scientific ephemera, Gratzer uncovers what may be the real history of science, revealed by anecdotes of discovery shared over cups of coffee and pints of beer, and told with wit and relish. The resulting collection of almost 200 tales becomes an informal history of science, although Gratzer acknowledges that he cannot verify the truth of every account, cheerfully noting that he has included reports he feels "deserve to be true".

Walter Gratzer, Emeritus Professor of Biophysical Chemistry at Kingšs College London, returns to his old university to discuss his new publication, the Oxford Book of Scientific Anecdotes. Has he uncovered the truth of science? Decide for yourself.

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