The intriguing lives and key works of the ten physicists who most profoundly transformed our understanding of the physical world in which we live
Acclaimed popular-science writer Brian Clegg and popular TV and radio astronomer Rhodri Evans give us a Top Ten list of physicists as the central theme to build an exploration of the most exciting breakthroughs in physics, looking not just at the science, but also the fascinating lives of the scientists themselves.
The Top Ten are:
1.Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
2.Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
3.Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
4.Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
5.James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)
6.Michael Faraday (1791-1867)
7.Marie Curie (1867-1934)
8.Richard Feynman (1918-1988)
9.Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937)
10.Paul Dirac (1902-1984)
Each of these figures has made a huge contribution to physics. Some are household names, others more of a mystery, but in each case there is an opportunity to combine a better understanding of the way that each of them has advanced our knowledge of the universe with an exploration of their often unusual, always interesting lives.
Whether we are with Curie, patiently sorting through tons of pitchblende to isolate radium or feeling Bohr's frustration as once again Einstein attempts to undermine quantum theory, the combination of science and biography humanizes these great figures of history and makes the Physics itself more accessible.
In exploring the way the list has been built the authors also put physics in its place amongst the sciences and show how it combines an exploration of the deepest and most profound questions about life and the universe with practical applications that have transformed our lives. The book is structured chronologically, allowing readers to follow the development of scientific knowledge over more than 400 years, showing clearly how this key group of individuals has fundamentally altered our understanding of the world around us.
This is a lovely book, easy to read, and sure to provoke debate - John Gribbin, author of In Search of the Multiverse