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Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics Paperback – May 27, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
a"San Francisco Chronicle"
a Cracking good narrative history.a
[A] fascinating story, insightfully told and consistently engaging . . . Segr speaks to the reader with enthusiasm, at times unable to conceal his excitement about the fascinating story he s sharing, yet his telling is deftly and dramatically structured, providing necessary historical and scientific context, clearly and concisely.
"San Francisco Chronicle"
Cracking good narrative history.
? [A] fascinating story, insightfully told and consistently engaging . . . Segr? speaks to the reader with enthusiasm, at times unable to conceal his excitement about the fascinating story he's sharing, yet his telling is deftly and dramatically structured, providing necessary historical and scientific context, clearly and concisely.?
?"San Francisco Chronicle"
? Cracking good narrative history.?
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Top Customer Reviews
Segre's book starts slowly, perhaps awkwardly from a literary perspective (at least it struck me that way as I began to read it), but immediately he foreshadows that his accounts are pregnant with fascinating scientific, human, and historical insights. Segre does not fail to make good on the promise.
1932 proved to be "the miracle year" and something of a triumphal culmination for quantum theory, not because all of its problems were then solved--they still are not--but because by the end of that year its startling cadre of guiding geniuses, most notably Bohr, Pauli, Heisenberg, Fermi, and Dirac, had all done their finest work (though still admired by the `boy physicists,' Planck and Einstein had made their great contributions two and three decades earlier). It was the golden year of the golden age of physics, the headiest time in the whole history of science.Read more ›
This is a brilliant retelling of a fascinating story of scientific discovery. Segre also weaves some of his own family history into the tale, which gives the reader a taste of the personal and political, as well as the scientific, turmoil of the times. The year also saw Adolph Hitler's rise to power in Germany, an event that would soon affect them all. Such connections help us understand the monumental difficulties and the strengths and weaknesses of the people involved in this remarkable period. In fact 1932 was called "The Miracle Year" by many physicists, although Einstein, for one, was not satisfied.Read more ›
The centerpiece of the narrative is the 1932 meeting at Neil Bohr's Copenhagen Institute in what is called by many the "Miracle Year" of science and the the touchstone of this narrative is the parody of Goethe's Faust written and performed by the junior attendees at the conference. It is through the lines of this parody that Segre introduces us to the principle players in the narrative and shows us the issues facing them as they passed from being the young, upstart visionaries they came into the story as to becoming the wisened old hands (so to speak).
The central figure in the story is Neils Bohr and I can honesty say that I've never read an account that is as good at revealing the deep character of the man who shepherded physics through a tumultuous time by nurturing and encouraging the brightest young mind around the world in peering into unknown. Additionally, much time is spent discussing the other great figures, Heisenberg and Pauli.
The final thing that sets the narrative apart is the deep sense of poignancy the story has as the events unfold in the shadow of Hilter and that Nazi party's growing power and rise within Germany.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved that this book was not so technical but still gave the reader a good basis for understanding what quantum physics is all about. Read morePublished 20 months ago by christopher
Fortunately, this was not the first book I read about these people and events. Knowing something already, it fleshes out the characters. Read morePublished on September 15, 2012 by David R. Ingham
Its astonishing read and how this complex field of Quantum in the world of Physics which tore down every known assumption of the Newtonian world and came to be reviewed in a once... Read morePublished on January 21, 2011 by Peter Baston
Enjoyed the book so much but why no pictures in the ebook edition? Minus one star since the author again and again refers to the pictures.Published on December 15, 2010 by DVDF
This book is a great way to understand the events of the Miracle year of 1932 when nuclear physics was born, ..... Read morePublished on July 18, 2009 by B. Burge
Being very interested in the early history of quantum mechanics, having read "Thirty Years That Shook Physics," and having scanned through all the positive reviews on Amazon, I... Read morePublished on February 8, 2009 by RichardL
Well written book consists of a lot of interesting historical information. Seven "main characters" are shown in a process of creating quantum theory. Read morePublished on May 20, 2008 by Boris Ovetsky