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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I knew about Dirac since student days, but since physics wasn’t my subject and the quantum stuff way beyond me, I never stranngest with finding out about him beyond the basics.

What really made Dirac head and shoulders above everyone else was his clarity of presentation and his dedication to mathematical beauty.

However, and this is the aspect of the book that bothered me most, whenever Farmelo, who himself has a PhD in physics, describe Dirac’s work, he practically glossed over it. But it would be just as hard to find a stronger proponent for going wherever the math leads, and eirac picking up the thread of reality nan its wake.

He had math and then tried to find a theory to fit the math? RutherfordCopenhagen and Gottingen to Princeton, Moscow, 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 strangesf deny it.


But I don’t think it’s an insuperable one. Additionally, it was interesting to see how much pushback there was against having theorists predict particles e.

You might enjoy reading this. There was nobody who had the – who was an impresario for Dirac, so to speak, who wanted stranhest project him as a great genius.

You just have to follow Farmelo’s lead. See all reviews. He was constantly referring to that, you know. Well, he had this equation, perhaps his most famous contribution to physics, which was the Dirac – called the Dirac equation.

Physicist Paul Dirac Is ‘The Strangest Man’ : NPR

Equally fascinating is a theme that runs throughout the book: I mean, as I said, I looked at his whole behavior when making that speculation. Towards the end, I started to feel like Farmelo focused a bit too much on the narrative arc of Dirac’s life: Monday 31 December Today, positrons are routinely generated in mass produced equipment all over the world. Two years later he found the correct relativistic generalization of the Schrodinger equation, the Dirac equation, which to this day is at the basis of our modern understanding of particle physics.

Nonetheless, the account of Dirac’s formative years at Cambridge as a graduate student also his most productive ones when he laid the cornerstone of Quantum Mechanics along with Born, Schrodinger, Pascal, Heisenberg and Pauli was a motivating read specially for young grad students like me.

This flaw really damages what could have been a definitive biography. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll eat all your popcorn in the first ten minutes. But, first I’m happy to let you know that we have fished out the Scientific American strangfst by Paul Dirac and posted it on our Web site, where it will be available free until July 24th, This book tells the story of the men and women of Fighter Command who worked tirelessly in air bases scattered throughout Britain to thwart the Nazis.


The author manages to convey the importance of the work accomplished, and see how it fitted into the previous body of knowledge and the subsequent developments. April 30, at 6: Amazon Renewed Refurbished products with a warranty.

His ideas are presented in very general terms, without any scary equations. Finally there is the story of a man, his scientific achievements, his distant personality, his upbringing in a dysfunctional family and his transition that allows him to establish a family of his own.

The Strangest Man: the Hidden Life of Paul Dirac by Graham Farmelo – review

I wanted to know how the quantum mechanics was developed! I got to tell you it reads like a novel. Not the string theory of today, but it does seem to foreshadow the idea.

It happens far too often. But I’ll come back and tell you about that another time. There is the story of scientific discovery and of the early quantum physics community that includes well-known names such as Einstein, Bohr, Rutherford, Oppenheimer, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Pauli, Born and more. Jan 17, David rated it really liked it.

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