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Niels Bohr's Times In Physics, Philosophy and Polity
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Niels Bohr's Times In Physics, Philosophy and Polity

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  75 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
Abraham Pais's life of Albert Einstein was one of the finest scientific biographies ever written. When it first appeared in 1982, Christian Science Monitor called it "an extraordinary biography of an extraordinary man," and Timothy Ferris, in The New York Times Book Review, said it was "the biography of Einstein he himself would have liked best," adding that "it is a work ...more
Paperback, 604 pages
Published January 20th 1994 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published October 3rd 1991)
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Brian Clegg
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fully, if clumsily titled Neils Bohr's Times, in physics, philosophy, and polity, this is the definitive scientific biography of Bohr by fellow physicist Abraham Pais who knew and worked with him.

The good news is that this chunky title will give you an in-depth look at Bohr and his work. From his early days in Copenhagen, through his brief but fruitful stay in the UK, his return to Denmark, the rush to safety in the Second World War and his gradual move to elder statesman of quantum physics, it'
...more
K
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a good biography of Niels Bohr, which, however, fails to fulfil its purpose, namely to provide a synoptic, albeit dense, account of Bohr's scientific, philosophical, and social contributions. Although the scope of Pais' work is admirable, his discussion of complementarity is surprisingly philosophically-thin, while the analysis of Bohr's physics omits most formalisms -- the latter is, perhaps, to be expected given Bohr's well-known 'qualitative' reasoning. Worse, in pure presentist fashi ...more
Meg
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
I've read this several times in several ways for obvious work-related reasons. Pais makes very few choices in this sprawling volume, and so there are a lot of good things to say, and also a lot of places where you wish he had an editor or a thread that he felt he was following that might help him steer clear of long sections on Danish royal families or Descartes' thoughts on atoms.
I come back to this book time and time again to mine it for sources. It is really quite a well-researched thing, an
...more
Bryce Holt
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is a ridiculously in-depth look at a man who can only be called "One of the smartest men of the 20th century." Still, the way it was written and the concepts being dealt with, it was a slog for me. Not that it was bad...it was actually very good. But I can't remember a time where a book took me 6 months to finish. Heavy, heavy stuff, but a brilliant biography about a brilliant man. Very good stuff.
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