From Publishers Weekly
Before Hitler's rise to power, Germany outstripped the rest of the world in its scientific achievements. Between 1901 and 1932, German scientists won one-third of all Nobel science prizes; from 1933 to 1960, however, Germany won only eight of these prizes. Medawar, the widow of renowned immunologist Peter Medawar, and British physician Pyke collaborate to narrate an engrossing story of how England and the United States benefited from Hitler's expulsion of Germany's leading scientists. The authors observe that at least 20% of these biologists, physicists and chemists were dismissed from their university posts because they were Jews. Others left the country because of their opposition to Hitler and his regime. In Britain, scholars such as historian G.M. Trevelyan, biochemist Frederick Gowland Hopkins, and geneticist J.B.S. Haldane formed the Academic Assistance Council to help relocate and support displaced German scientists, among them physicist Erwin Schrdinger, who originated the theory of wave mechanics; and biologist Hans Krebs, the father of the famous Krebs Cycle, which describes the oxidation of carbohydrates into energy. German refugee scientists who won acclaim in the United States include Einstein; Edward Teller, the "father of the H-bomb"; and Enrico Fermi, who split the atom. Medawar and Pyke point out that several scientists remained in Germany, most notably Max Planck and Werner Heisenberg, in an attempt to preserve German science in its pre-Hitler expressions. Yet the authors refrain from casting moral aspersions on those who stayed or on those German academics who apparently did not help their Jewish colleagues. This engaging story of the demise of science in Hitler's Germany and the subsequent rise of science in England and the United States compellingly chronicles a little-considered aspect of WWII history.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Jean Medawar, the widow of Sir Peter Medawar, the Nobel prize-winning immunologist, has written several books, including A Very Decided Preference. David Pyke, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, has written several medical books and one on family planning with Jean Medawar.