Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat: Scenes from the Living Laboratory

April 21, 2011
Rom Harré
Oxford University Press (3/15/2009)

Pavlov's Dogs book cover

Amazon | From the sheep, dog, and cockerel that were sent aloft in Montgolfier’s balloon to test the air over Paris, to the famous clone Dolly the Sheep and the Darwinian finches of the Galapagos, Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat offers a fascinating and enlightening look at the use of plants and animals — including humans — in scientific experiments. Rom Harré provides a fresh and fascinating perspective on research, setting aside moral reflection to simply examine the history of how and why living creatures have been used for the purposes of discovery. Ranging over five centuries, the book uncovers many extraordinary stories, including tales of the people involved, to many curious incidents and episodes, and the occasional scientific fraud. From Gregor Mendel’s use of pea plants to explore heredity, to Barry Marshall’s use of himself as the experimental animal in his helicobacter experiments (he survived) and even the use of an imaginary cat in Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment, the reader discovers a perspective on scientific work he or she has never encountered before.