The Strangest Man
The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom
By Graham Farmelo
(Basic Books, Hardcover, 9780465018277, 560pp.)
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
List Price: $29.95*
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Paul Dirac was among the great scientific geniuses of the modern age. One of the discoverers of quantum mechanics, the most revolutionary theory of the past century, his contributions had a unique insight, eloquence, clarity, and mathematical power. His prediction of antimatter was one of the greatest triumphs in the history of physics. One of Einstein’s most admired colleagues, Dirac was in 1933 the youngest theoretician ever to win the Nobel Prize in physics.
Dirac’s personality is legendary. He was an extraordinarily reserved loner, relentlessly literal-minded and appeared to have no empathy with most people. Yet he was a family man and was intensely loyal to his friends. His tastes in the arts ranged from Beethoven to Cher, from Rembrandt to Mickey Mouse.
Based on previously undiscovered archives, The Strangest Man reveals the many facets of Dirac’s brilliantly original mind. A compelling human story, The Strangest Man also depicts a spectacularly exciting era in scientific history.
Graham Farmelo is senior research fellow at the Science Museum, London, and adjunct professor of physics at Northeastern University. His previous books include It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science. He lives in Richmond, England.
In a new biography, Graham Farmelo digs deep into the archives and personal papers of a little-known Nobel-winning physicist. Farmelo discusses The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom and his theory that Dirac may have been autistic. More at NPR.org
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