"The world is not ruled by reason; even less by love," Max Born wrote to his close friend Albert Einstein in 1921. Twelve years later, as the Nazis forced him to emigrate to Great Britain, he felt the personal impact of that statement.
Even after the defeat of the Nazis, the explosion of the atom bomb inflicted a further blow. It was a cruel twist of fate that Born, a pacifist who loved science for its beauty, had educated the developers of the atom bomb. Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, Eugene Wigner, and John von Neumann, among others, had flocked to Gottingen, Germany, to work with Born, the physicist who had discovered one of the most profound principles of the century - the physics of indeterminacy.
The End of the Certain World presents for the first time Born's full story: Nobel physicist, a discoverer of quantum theory, exile from Hitler's Germany, teacher of nine Nobel physicists. Born's role in the "Golden Age of Physics" in the 1920s helped to shape the science of the twentieth century and open the door to the modern era. Together with his Wunderkinder - including his assistant Werner Heisenberg - Born solved the quantum puzzle. But whereas Heisenberg received his Nobel Prize in 1933, Born was overlooked; he had to wait more than twenty years to receive one.
When Born finally did win the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1954, it was awarded for his theory of the indeterminate nature of the atomic world. It was a validation on more than one level. He had a long-standing debate with Einstein on the subject, and Born's position - that God does play dice - had been recognised; we indeed live in a world of uncertainty.
The End of the Certain World is a social history and a history of science as well as an intimate biography. Nancy Thorndike Greenspan unfolds the story of a great physicist and humanitarian, to reveal his struggle with the forces of religion, politics, and war.
"...This empathetic work lifts a deserving figure out of semi-obscurity and adds valuable perspective on the origin of modern physics..." (Publishers Weekly, USA, 7th February 2005)
"Greenspan has written one of the most accomplished popular biographies of a modern scientist to be published in recent years” (Times Higher Educational Supplement, 29th April 2005)
“ an indispensable study of this major figure in one of the most profound transformations in the history of science.” (Nature, Vol.435. 9th June 2005)
“ very readable and well-researched account of his life ” (Focus, August 2005)
“ makes it easy to warm to Born the man ” (The Independent, 5th July,2005)
“ a fascinating book if you only buy one book about physics this year, make it this one ” (nthmagazine online, April 05)
|One: A Kind of Shell|
|Two: A Higher Desire|
|Three: Matters Physical|
|Four: A Better Pill to Swallow|
|Five: There Is No Other Born in Germany|
|Six: Thinking Hopelessly About Quanta|
|Seven: But God Does Play Dice|
|Eight: Dark Future|
|Nine: Seeing How Expendable You Are|
|Ten: Talking of Desperate Matters|
|Eleven: Worse Than Imagination|
|Twelve: There Are So Many Ifs|
|Thirteen: A Curse of the Age|
|Fourteen: A Trip to Stockholm|
|Table of Contents provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 374
Published: 24th March 2005
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6 x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.758