Bird of Passage: Recollections of a Physicist

Rudolph Peierls, Author Princeton University Press $29.5 (350p) ISBN 978-0-691-08390-2
The lighthearted title is a clue to the easy-going style of Peierls's memoir of a career spent working (and sometimes playing) with his peersthe scientists whose ideas and experiments generated the awesome body of laws and theories known as quantum physics. Born in Germany in 1907, Peierls lived to win a British knighthoodbut never, it seems, once he had escaped Hitler's Germany with his Russian-born wife, settled in one place long enough to feel more than a bird-of-passage. Out of Peierls's recollections of life in universities and labs, he constructs a lively, charming and informative behind-the-scenes account of men and women on the forefront of physics. Peierls studied or worked on several continents, numbered Bethe, Bohr, Rutherford and other greats among his friends, andhere revealingly describedcontributed to the development of the A-bomb at Los Alamos right up its first use, at Hiroshima. Photos. December
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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