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The Geek Atlas by John Graham-Cumming

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Introduction

A Mind Forever Voyaging

For my 13th birthday my parents took me around Dove Cottage, former home of the English poet William Wordsworth. I remember only one thing from that visit—an underground stream that kept one of the rooms cool, making it ideal storage for food. There in Wordsworth’s house was a little bit of science waiting to be discovered.

Unfortunately, finding great scientific places to visit isn’t as easy as finding the homes of long-dead poets, painters, or writers. Call any tourist office around the world and ask about scientific, mathematical, or technological attractions, and you’ll be greeted with either a long silence or a short list of the obvious famous science museums. This is a pity, because if there’s one thing that makes science stand apart, it’s the willingness of scientists to freely share what they do. And the world is full of wonderful sites, museums, and seemingly random places that make the geek heart pound a little harder. Many of them are even free of charge.

This book’s 128 places is a personal list of sites to visit where science, mathematics, or technology happened or is happening. You won’t find tedious little third-rate museums, or plaques stuck to the wall stating that “Professor X slept here” among the selections. Every place has real scientific, mathematical, or technological interest.

Not all of the places feature man-made inventions or discoveries. There are also natural phenomena such as the moving Magnetic North Pole ...

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