Courtney Johnston's Reviews > Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science

Quantum Man by Lawrence M. Krauss
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's review
Aug 29, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: abandoned, science, biography
Read in August, 2011

I really really wanted to like this book, as I've been wanting to get back into the swing of science reading. But Lawrence Krauss lost me on two counts.

First, the physics easily makes up 60% of the book, and dives in pretty deep. I appreciate that the Krauss is trying to give equal focus to Feynman's science and his larger-than-life personality, but I got lost pretty quick, and gave up 60 pages in when I realised that I was skimming the science searching for the next bit of bio. It certainly understood more than I would have two years ago, but it wasn't what I was reading for and I got a bit thrown by that.

Second, Krauss overdoes the exclamation mark. Your average biography, to my mind, shouldn't use exclamation marks outside of quoted dialogue, and your average science book should also employ them warily. And sentences like this are simply not improved through their inclusion:

But unlike conventional repairmen, Feynman would delight in solving radio problems not merely by tinkering, but by thinking!

Needless to say, when the experimenters involved in the claimed discovery went back to their device and looked at it there was the bolt!

Those two examples were on pages 4 and 5. I don't know why it grates on me so badly, but it does.

If you physics is stronger and your aversion to !!! weaker than mine, you might get a lot more out of 'Quantum Man' than I did. But I'm going back to James Gleick's canonical biography myself.
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