A book on “What is really Science?

I was on a train back from the seaside. The summer was gone and the philosophy teacher (at that time I was attending the high-school) had assigned us a book to read.  The title sounded like "The Birth of modern Science in Europe". I started to leaf through it, without expecting anything special.

Until then, I had a purist vision of science: I supposed that the development of science was - in some way - a deterministic process, scientists proceeded in a linear way doing their experiments, theories arose in the science community under a common agreement.

Well..  my vision of science was dramatically different from that one I experienced some years later! With surprise and astonishment, I discovered that Sir Isaac Newton had a not-hidden passion for Alchemy - probably the furthest thing from science I could imagine - Nicolaus Copernicus wrote to the Pope begging to accept his theories, Galileo and other scientists fought not only against the Roman Church and Aristotle's thought but maybe more often one against the others just to prevail.

In two weeks I finished the book and then my way of thinking changed. I understood that science was not only a pursuit of knowledge but a social process too, with its rules and tricks: a never-ending tale such as human life. I have never forgotten it and since then, my curiosity and passion for science have been rising more and more. Definitely, that book has changed my mind.