The Fly in the Cathedral
By Brian Cathcart
Review by Genny (Chemistry)
The Fly in the Cathedral is a fantastic book to read for anybody interested in studying chemistry or physics at university. I read it when I was applying for chemistry and wanted to read around the subject. This book was perfect for me as I had not done physics for A level and it is largely set in a physical laboratory in Cambridge. Practical science is really brought to life as a group of physicists have to design their own lab equipment and think up new methods to try and achieve something incredible- splitting the atom. They are trying to find out what an atom is made of and produce evidence to support their theories- an almost unthinkable goal at the time. The book gives a good insight into the workings of a lab and the ups and downs that come with it, covering everything from the amazing feeling of discovering something ground breaking to the frustrations of faulty equipment or unsuccessful experiments. The characters in the book include some of the best scientists of all time, including names that will become very familiar to you during your undergraduate course. It gives a really good account of their personalities and backgrounds and helps to paint a picture of the men behind the theories you will come to learn about in your degree. There are plenty of humorous stories of the antics of the scientists and the book is written in a style that is not very technical and easy to read.
The Fly in the Cathedral by Brian Cathcart