The Whats of a Scientific Life

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Author(s): John R. Helliwell

This book completes a scientific life trilogy of books following on from the Hows (i.e. skills) and the Whys is now the Whats of a scientific life. Starting with just what is science, then on to what is physics, what is chemistry and what is biology the book discusses career situations in terms of types of obstacles faced. There follow examples of what science has achieved as well as plans and opportunities. The contexts for science are dependencies of science on mathematics, how science cuts across disciplines, and the importance of engineering and computer software. What science is as a process is that it is distinctly successful in avoiding or dealing with failures. Most recently a radical change in what is science is the merger of the International Council of Scientific Unions and the International Social Sciences Council.

Key Features:

  • Dissects what is science and its contexts
  • Provides wide ranging case studies of science and discovery based directly on the author’s many decades in science
  • The author has outstanding experience in mentoring and career development, and also in outreach activities for the public and students of all ages
  • The world of science today involves a merger of ‘the sciences’ and the ‘social sciences’


“A lot of thought about what science is, and experience about what the scientific life involves, has gone into this book by John Helliwell. In fact John has become a figure head for his work in physics and chemistry and also delving into biology. His book is within the Global Science Education Book Series and which, close to my heart, is the important science education role that the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and Museum in Widnes  has and where I am the Chair of Trustees of the Charitable Trust that manages it. I warmly welcome this new book, not least in which John highlights enzyme catalysis and the International Year of the Periodic Table 2019, it even includes a photograph of Mendeleev’s visit to Manchester.”

- Dr Diana Leitch MBE, FRSC, Deputy University Librarian, University of Manchester,  and Chair of Trustees of the Catalyst SDC and Museum, Widnes, UK

EAN: 9781000731231