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Two-Fisted Science Paperback – October 22, 2009

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Two-Fisted Science + Suspended In Language: Niels Bohrs Life, Discoveries, And The Century He Shaped + Fallout
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Editorial Reviews

Review

With notes, references and a bibliography, the book provides an unusual but intelligent introduction to some of the most famous figures in physics. --Physics World

It humanizes science in a badly needed way, it inspires. --The Comics Journal

[W]onderfully offbeat and human. This collection illustrates some of science history's more offbeat sides... --Factsheet Five

About the Author

All of Jim Ottaviani's books have been nominated for multiple awards, including Eisners & ALA Popular Paperback of the Year, and they also receive critical praise in publications ranging from The Comics Journal to Physics World to Entertainment Weekly to Discover Magazine, and get national broadcast attention in outlets such as NPR's Morning Edition and the CBS Morning Show.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: G.T. Labs; 3rd edition (October 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978803744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978803742
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #904,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
All the stories in this collection of "graphic fiction" were written by Ottaviani, but the artwork was supplied by ten artists, including Bernie Mireault and Scott Saavedra. The stories are based on real events (reportedly real, anyway) about Einstein, Russell, Bohr, Heisenberg, and others - and especially Richard Feynman, who was not only one of 20th century physics's major minds but an amateur locksmith, talented musician, social philosopher, and world-class storyteller as well. Some, like "turtles all the way down," are smile-inducing classics, while others, like Heisenberg's approach to Bohr on behalf on the German nuclear effort in World War II are somber and reflective. Feynman's own recounting of his brief, tragic marriage during the Manhattan Project is especially affecting, and the tale of his safe-cracking activities at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge are a hoot. Oh, and you'll even learn some physics theory along the way, or at least get a taste of how physicists view the world. I hope another volume like this is in the works.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
Comics like "Two-Fisted Science" serve nothing but a good purpose. They remind us that comics - like other art forms - can be about anything, and are not captives of the humor, fantasy and adventure genres.
A science-themed comic is especially appropriate, as the art-text combination inherent to comics would seem perfect for conveying complex/cosmic ideas. This collection features some terrific artists - notably Bernie Mireault, David Lasky, Colleen Doran and Sean Bieri - but I was a bit disappointed in the writing. Ottaviani's stories so intent on being unorthodox and different that they instead become meandering and confusing. Oftentimes I was unsure of what exactly was at stake for each story and why we should care about what was being told. And I would expect to actually learn more about SCIENCE in such a book. Also, the organization of the book into seemingly random sections, and the clumsy, unimaginative publication design diminished the effect.
I give the book high marks for effort, nice artwork, and the especially interesting portraits of Richard Feynman, but overall I'd rate "Two-Fisted Science" a noble failure.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
We have given this book to various friends who have enjoyed the hard science topics in the 'comic book' format. We also have given it to nieces and nephews, who may not realize that they are being exposed to science and history. We can chat with them about it later, to see how much they have absorbed and to encourage them to reread it (comics are fun after all).
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Format: Paperback
Jim Ottaviani loves science and has a knack for finding tales that are intriguing and usually entertaining. "Two-fisted Science" is a short volume of graphic art that gives us several good short stories. We hear how Einstein, for all his genius, unable to wrap his head around quantum physics. We see how unsecret was atomic secrecy in the Soviet Union after the war. We see Galileo trying to pull a fast one on Church authorities who were trying to limit his inquiries. And we see Danish physicist Neils Bohr and German physicist Werner Heisenberg, meeting behind Nazi lines to discuss Nazi plans to build the Bomb.

Ottaviani wrote most of the stories, with other artists doing the pen and ink work .The stories are almost lucid, evidently an Ottaviani trademark. I think of myself as well read, but I always feel as if I'm just missing some key bit of background info when reading his work. It might have helped, for instance, to know that Heisenberg worked for the Nazis and Bohr's mother was Jewish. And Bohr's reference to the Neupfadfinder movement left my completely at sea.

Those who read Ottavianio's "Fallout" will recognize the stories of Richard Feynman, retold here almost word for word, but drawn by different artists. The Feynman material takes over half of this book. This will either be irritating to those who know the story, or fascinating to see how different artists treat the same source materials. For me, I found it baffling that Ottaviani would tell the same stories twice.

"Two-fisted Science" is an admirable, but flawed attempt to make scientists seem like ordinary humans. The dashes of science that it doles out are tantalizing but thin. Sigh.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Two Fisted Science is listed as the work of several graphic artists and writers. The back cover would have you believe that the purpose of the book is to help readers see scientists as humans. At best this is partially achieved.

We get a more or less fictionalized retelling of Galileo's problems with the Catholic Church. This is followed by a completely fictional "bar fight "between Newton and Leibniz. Leibniz is shrugged off as a Lawyer when in fact he was a lot of things.

The several sections on Richard Feynman includes the touching story of the tender love between himself and his dying wife as well as something of his mischievous sense of humor. Likely this section comes closest to capturing the person in the lab coat. Feynman also has the largest share of this short book. Bertrand Russell get a fairly clever and effective one page. Until you read that this is a version of a story based on something else. On the good side each section ends with some quality suggestions for additional reading.

As a collection of graphic art there is something here for everyone who admires this art form but the text/story lines include too much that is vague and unenlightening and too little that is of human interest. If any scientist profiled in Two Fisted Science was unknown to you before reading the book, likely they remain unknown to you nor do you have much that tells you why a given scientist is profiled.
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