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Robert Oppenheimer: A Life
Robert Oppenheimer: A Life
Robert Oppenheimer: A Life
Price: $21.96 FREE for Members
Type: eBook
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Page Count: 396
Format: pdf
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0195166736
User Rating:  out of 5 Stars! (108 Votes)

From Publishers Weekly

Back in the 1990s, when Pais ("Subtle Is the Lord...") began to seriously consider writing about Oppenheimer, there was no full-scale biography of the scientist who led America's effort to create the atom bomb. But with a surfeit of books about Oppenheimer in the last year, this one comes too late—and suffers greatly in comparison to Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin's more comprehensive and cogent American Prometheus. Though Pais, a physicist as well as a science writer, was a close colleague of Oppenheimer's at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies, he is largely incurious about the parts of his subject's life that he didn't observe personally. He does little more than acknowledge the Manhattan Project, for example, noting that it has been covered elsewhere, and dismisses Oppenheimer's wife as despicable with barely any supporting evidence. Some chapters are assembled by lengthy quotes from secondary sources, others by anecdote, some barely developed past outline form; none are particularly engrossing. Pais died before he could write about the political hearings that cost Oppenheimer his security clearance and public reputation. The final chapters covering this period, written by Crease, a historian at Brookhaven National Laboratory and author of The Prism and the Pendulum, are such a marked improvement that one wishes he'd produced a biography on his own. (Apr.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Scientific American

Before you mutter "Not another book about Oppenheimer," recall that the author of this one--the late Abraham Pais--wrote what is arguably the most comprehensive biography of Albert Einstein, Subtle Is the Lord, which won a National Book Award. In the present book, Pais (who was a distinguished theoretical physicist) once again combines his sophisticated understanding of the science and his insider's knowledge of the man (he was Oppenheimer's next-door neighbor for many years) to produce a stunning portrait. Historian of science Crease completed the book after Pais's death.

EDITORS OF SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN


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