Trevor Norton

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Assistant: Seren Adams


Trevor Norton is a marine biologist and was Professor of Marine Biology at Liverpool University until his retirement. He was also Director of the Marine Laboratory there. Trevor's latest book, IMAGINATION AND A PILE OF JUNK, was published by Hodder and Stoughton in January 2014. He lives with his wife by the sea.


'Wonderful... Norton strikes the right mixture of wit and awe in his discussions' Telegraph

'Wonderful... Norton writes with engaging fluency and is easily understood by the non-scientist' Independent

'This is a rip-snortingly entertaining omnium gatherum of the riskiest and most extraordinary experiments in the history of science and medicine, told in breezy pop-science manner' Daily Mail


Publication DetailsNotes


Many have followed the advice of the great Victorian scientist Jack Haldane to ‘never experiment on an animal if a man will do’ and ‘never ask anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself.’ This book celebrates the great eccentrics who have performed dangerous experiments on themselves for the benefit of humankind.


Hodder & Stoughton

A celebration of the extraordinary people who created the modern world, spiced with anecdotes and wit. Trevor Norton weaves an entertaining history with a seductive mix of eureka moments, disasters and dirty tricks.

Although inventors were often scientists or engineers, many were not: Samuel Morse (Morse code) was a painter, Lazlow Biro (ballpoint) was a sculptor and hypnotist, and Logie Baird (TV) sold boot polish. The inventor of the automatic telephone switchboard was an undertaker who believed the operator was diverting his calls to rival morticians so he decided to make all telephone operators redundant.

Inventors are mavericks indifferent to conventional wisdom so critics were dismissive of even their best ideas: radio had 'no future,' electric light was 'an idiotic idea' and X-rays were 'a hoax. The head of the General Post Office rejected telephones as unneccesary as there were 'plenty of small boys to run messages.'

Inventomania is a magical place where eccentrics are always in season and their stories are usually unbelievable - but rest assured, nothing has been invented.



This is the beautifully told tale of Norton's growing love of the sea, from family holidays in Whitley Bay as a boy, to his first over zealous attempts at diving.



The funny and touching story of a menagerie of eccentric and talented ecologists who spent forty summers at Lough Ine,



The story of a bunch of intrepid and inspired men who pioneered the exploration of the last great unknown: the deeps of the sea.