The reader finds that Johnson's careful attention to detail shows more than it tells through enlightening stories of Gell-Mann's troubled, romantic, or pretentious dealings with peers, family, and even strangers. Explaining his strange surname means investigating old phone books, scientific legend, and family history, as the scientist is unwilling to shed light on the mystery (it turns out that his father hyphenated it, and Murray dreamed up etymologies as needed--giving rise to the tangled web of myths). Johnson is up to the challenge of recording the life story of a man nearly as strange as the quarks he discovered and named, and Strange Beauty lives up to the promise of its title. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
All in all, a well written and enjoyable book.
In contrast, when I read George Johnson's recent biography of Murray Gell-Mann (Strange Beauty), I couldn't help thinking, "That's Murray!" "Yes, that's Murray!"
The author has an interesting subject & a good ability to explain the physics in a way that is understandable for the layperson.
Very readable, very understandable, very informative. Johnson does just excellent work. Highly recommended for non-specialists. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Richard Johnson
IThis man's accomplishments have been known to me for a long time, so to see the child-adult mind behind this life's work was quite exciting.Published 16 months ago by Leslie Cohen
I enjoyed reading this book and lost some sleep staying up a couple of nights to finish it. Just look at the bibliography and you can see the extensive research that was involved... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mike in Palm Bay
J'ai lu et relu. Quelle vie passionnante ce grand savant a eue. Ses énormes capacités et ses petites faiblesses sont si bien décrites. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Pierre Van Leeuw
I was interested in Gell-Mann since I read about his contribution to complexity and the Santa Fe institute. Read morePublished on September 7, 2012 by Santiago Roel
Reading "Strange Beauty" kept me in a state of blissful concentration all the way to the end. What I most appreciated about this book is the science behind the scientist. Read morePublished on March 31, 2012 by Normand Hamel
George Johnson's detailed profile of Gell-Mann shows his development from a "pint-sized Einstein" raised in Manhattan's Lower East Side, to a prickly but brilliant theorist at the... Read morePublished on July 11, 2011 by D. Cloyce Smith
Personally, I purchased this bio of Gell-Mann out of curiosity. It is always a pleasure for me to read about the interesting characters that produced our modern understanding of... Read morePublished on November 4, 2009 by J. Storey
Keeping us focused on what it takes to make great physics, and a great physicist, is more important today than ever. Read morePublished on February 7, 2009 by Francis McInerney