Irving Langmuir spent many productive years pursuing Nobel‐caliber research (see the photo on the opposite page). Over the years, he also explored the subject of what he called “pathological science.” Although he never published his investigations in this area, on 18December 1953 at General Electric's Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, he gave a colloquium on the subject that will long be remembered by those in his audience. This talk was a colorful account of a particular kind of pitfall into which scientists may stumble.

1.
Eight months after the visit of Langmüir and Hewlett to Columbia and this exchange of letters, Barnes published a paper on the Davis‐Barnes effect in
Phys. Rev.
35
,
217
(
1930
).
2.
H. C.
Webster
,
Nature
126
,
352
(
1930
).
3.
B.
Davis
,
A. H.
Barnes
,
Phys. Rev.
37
,
1368
(
1931
).
4.
R. Blondlot, The N‐Rays, Longmans, Green, London (1905).
J. G.
McKendrick
,
Nature
72
,
195
(
1905
).
5.
R. W.
Wood
Nature
70
(
1904
);
Phys. Z.
5
,
789
(
1904
).
W. Seabrook, Doctor Wood, Harcourt Brace, New York (1941), ch. 17.
6.
A.
Hollaender
,
W. D.
Claus
,
J. Opt. Soc. Am.
25
,
270
(
1935
).
7.
F.
Allison
,
E. S.
Murphy
,
J. Am. Chem. Soc.
52
,
3796
(
1930
).
F.
Allison
,
Ind. Eng. Chem.
4
,
9
(
1932
).
S. S.
Cooper
,
T. R.
Ball
,
J. Chem. Ed.
13
,
210
(
1936
), also pp. 278, 326.
M. A.
Jeppesen
,
R. M.
Bell
,
Phys. Rev.
47
,
546
(
1935
).
H. F. Mildrum, B. M. Schmidt, Air Force Aero Prop. Lab. report AFAPL‐TR‐66‐52 (May 1966).
8.
W. M.
Latimer
,
H. A.
Young
,
Phys. Rev.
44
,
690
(
1933
).
9.
Langmuir may have been referring to the paper by
J. L.
McGhee
,
M.
Lawrentz
,
J. Am. Chem. Soc.
54
,
405
(
1932
), which contains the statement “In December 1930 one of us (McGhee) handed out by number to Prof. Allison twelve (to him) unknowns which were tested by him and checked by two assistants 100 percent correctly in three hours.”
See also
T. R.
Ball
,
Phys. Rev.
47
,
548
(
1935
), which describes additional tests in which unknowns were identified.
10.
See, for example,
G. R.
Price
,
Science
122
,
359
(
1955
) and replies on 6 Jan. 1956.
M. Gardner, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, Dover (1957).
11.
R. E.
Hannemann
,
P. J.
Jorgenson
,
J. Appl. Phys.
38
,
4099
(
1967
);
R. N. Hall, Proc. 9th Intl. Conf. Physics of Semiconductors, Moscow (1968) p. 481.
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