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The Strangest Man is the Costa Biography Award-winning account of Paul Dirac, the famous physicist sometimes called the British Einstein. He was one of the. In The Strangest Man, Graham Farmelo tries to get under the skin of one Paul Dirac: The man who conjured laws of nature from pure thought. “The purest soul” is a quotation about Dirac from Niels Bohr, as is Graham Farmelo’s title. (“Dirac is the strangest man,” Bohr said, “who ever.

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Straangest lives in London, England. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Paul Dirac was among the greatest scientific geniuses of the modern age.

One of Einstein’s most admired colleagues, he helped discover quantum mechanics, and his prediction of antimatter was one of the greatest triumphs in the history of physics. In he became the youngest theoretician ever to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. Dirac’s personality, like his achievements, is legendary. The Strangest Man uses previously undiscovered archives to reveal the many facets of Dirac’s brilliantly original mind.

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The Story of Quantum Theory. Lectures on Quantum Mechanics. Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How Two Men Revolutionized Physics. Driven by Vision, Broken by War. Basic Books; Reprint edition June 28, Language: Start reading The Strangest Man on your Kindle in under a minute. Don’t have a Kindle? Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Is this feature helpful? Thank you for your feedback.

Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention quantum mechanics paul dirac strangest man well written quantum theory nobel prize graham farmelo mathematical beauty theoretical physics dirac spent his life quantum physics twentieth century even though niels bohr eugene wigner florida state development of quantum quantum electrodynamics history of science albert einstein. Showing of reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews.

Physicist Paul Dirac Is ‘The Strangest Man’

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. I rate this a top shelf biography. As a PhD in theoretical physics the author was appropriately trained to tackle the scientific side of this as well as his long infatuation with the subject Dirac which gave him plenty of impetus to get at the human side of the subject.

He writes well, the story unfolding easily and warmly, taking us through the usual biographical flow of a life after beginning somewhat abruptly with a valuable late insight into Dirac’s own thoughts on his father in particular and his life. This insight, gained from a former neighbour and colleague of Dirac’s in Florida, shows us both an important human impact made on this man’s life, as well as the author’s research quality, seeking out and perhaps even going to the USA to interview this person.

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I knew about Dirac since student days, but since physics wasn’t my subject and the quantum stuff way beyond me, I never bothered with finding out about him beyond the basics. But I am truly glad I bought and read this book. The subject emerges as a giant for me now, even though I little understand the intricacies of what he did. It is however, easy to appreciate the magnitude of what he achieved, how he was rated by mentors, colleagues and juniors.

When Einstein recommends you as his first choice to appointment at the Institute for Advanced Studies, you know you’re of some value as a scientist. When people of the stature of Oppenheimer and Feynman are in awe of you, you know you must be worthy of something. Such was it for Dirac. Unlike at least one of the reviewers here, I am disappointed that we don’t get more technical explanations of some of the science.

I realise that stuff is over the heads of most bio readers including mebut I think it might be appropriate for scientific biographers to think about including such material in an appendix especially when they are trained and capable as Farmelo is.

A kind of Technical Details for Dummies appendix, as it were, including the equations, but explained as simply as possible – if that is possible, and I’m sure it is. I give as an example that succeeds admirably Pais’ bio of Einstein, where the technical details are provided by the physicist-biographer in a manner that does not intrude dlrac the non-mathematical reader but is highly tthe for those who can benefit from it.

I see one reviewer found a couple of historical inaccuracies. These are always likely to intrude in a work of this size and breadth. They can be corrected in strangewt second edition and the reviewer thanked for drawing attention to them.

In all I am very pleased with this work. I bought it about 8 months ago and have already read it completely twice as well as dipping into various index entries 10 or 15 times.

In a field that is historically dense with strantest and exchanges of findings and methods, Dirac was an extreme outlier, as someone who rarely talked at all, infamous for one word responses even in conversations with colleagues about scientific matters. Charles Dirac was a strict, controlling father. He enforced a hard work ethic, with little social life for Paul, his brother Felix, and his sister, Betty.

Felix committed suicide relatively early in his adult life, apparently over frustration with his lack of achievement. Betty clung to the family, looking after her dieac and mother, Flo, until tge in her 30s. As he grew strangedt, and especially in his marriage to the Hungarian sister of Eugene Wigner, Manci, he seems to have freed himself to some degree, finding that he could enjoy hobbies like mountain-climbing and swimming.

But he maintained an odd, withdrawn character throughout his life, customarily sitting in silence in both scientific discussions and in social situations.

The combination of a controlling father and a clinging mother put Paul in a kind of vice, no doubt partially responsible for his odd personality. Then there is Dirac the scientist.

The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom

He was a mathematical physicist, a theorist of a pure kind. And it is that mathematical purity that may be his most profound legacy as a scientist. Dirac was propelled by mathematics. With a background also in engineering, he certainly was attentive to the need to tie mathematical speculation back to verifiable observations, but it was the math that moved his thoughts. But it would be just as hard to find a mzn proponent for going wherever the math leads, and then picking up the thread of reality in its wake.

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It took significant time before his speculations could be confirmed in observations of cosmic rays at Caltech and then by his colleagues at the Cavendish Labs dirqc Cambridge.

I realized I had never appreciate how many theoretical contributions he made, not only in new, original concepts, like antimatter, but also in pushing existing theory to meet his mathematical standards.

Paul Dirac: “The Strangest Man” of Science, Part 2 – Scientific American

He worked directly with all of the leading physicists of his time, a regular visitor to the labs of Bohr in Copenhagen and Born and Heisenberg in Gottingen, as well as circulating among the theoretical and experimental physics groups at his own Cambridge.

Later in life, he was a frequent visitor to the Institute for Advanced Study, where Einstein and others sought him for a permanent position.

He has the physics credentials to tell us the science side, but it nan as much personal biography as intellectual biography. This strangesst be the greatest strength of his writing. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. As a pseudoscientist compared to a theoretical physicist, I enjoy reading a book about a real scientist whose brain works differently from that of most of us. For some reason I love the fact that his personality was different and the associations that went with it such as his father forcing him to speak French at breakfast every morning and if he slipped up the very next time he had a request his father would deny it.

Also he spoke very little so the theoreticians who knew him said “one Dirac” is one spoken word per hour.

Yet he gave amazingly beautiful and immaculate lectures in physics at Cambridge University. He also had a best friend, a fellow scientist from Russia, with whom he went mountain climbing. He was also the recipient of the Nobel Prize in theoretical physics in It was interesting to find toward the end of the book that the author compared his personality to that of an autistic person and found an amazing positive correlation.

The book was quite long but I could not put it down until it was finished. It thd enlightened me as to the period of time in which Paul Dirac worked and to the living conditions of England and Cambridge and of great theoretical physicists of the stramgest.

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