Great Victorian Discoveries: Astounding Revelations and Misguided Assumptions by Caroline Rochford
Have you ever heard of a four-footed bird? Can you really teach a dog to read? Where would you find a kangaroo crossed with a lion? In this brilliant and bizarre follow-up to Great Victorian Inventions, Caroline Rochford reveals the wondrous experiments and extraordinary theories of the great minds of science, engineering and natural history of the Victorian age. Some discoveries were authentic, some merely misguided assumptions giving rise to strange beliefs. This book exposes the curious conviction that Martians were constructing waterways on Mars and that the sun was really blue. It enters the world of botany with the discovery of a plant that had the ability to uproot itself and `travel' across the landscape, along with an ornamental tree that `ate' iron nails. Within these pages you can relive the moment when a German medical student accidentally splashed a liquid chemical on to his face and found it turned his eye numb, thus discovering local anaesthetic, and learn how green Victorians tackled the threat to fossil fuels by converting straw into energy. Come on a remarkable journey into the past and see for yourself the extraordinary discoveries that promised to change the world forever.