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Science is full of surprises: the peculiar peepshow beginnings of baby incubators; the unexpected positive fallout from the H-bomb; the dinosaurs that caused sonic booms; the irrational nature of the number pi; the fifth taste sensation lurking in everyone's taste buds which nobody knew about (except for the Japanese).

Whilst shedding light on these conundrums, Karl Sabbagh shows that seemingly trivial queries or assumptions lead to a deeper understanding of how science works. Who would have thought that scientists would turn to the hypothesis 'All swans are white' to determine the stability of the entire universe? Or that if we choose to spend our hard-earned money on other people it might make us happier than if we spend it on ourselves?

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