The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born

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In 1920, Albert Einstein wrote to Max Born, “Theoretical physics will flourish wherever you happen to be; there is no other Born to be found in Germany today.” 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” helped to shape the science of the twentieth century and open the door to the modern era. Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, ...

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New 2005 first edition, first printing hardcover and dust jacket in very fine condition. Protective mylar cover. 0.94 x 5.67 x 5.04 Inches 374 pages <I>The End of the Certain ... World</I> 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" helped to shape the science of the twentieth century and open the door to the modern era. Read more Show Less

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New York, NY 2005 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 320 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.

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2005 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. New. Hardcover edition, as pictured Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 400 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

In 1920, Albert Einstein wrote to Max Born, “Theoretical physics will flourish wherever you happen to be; there is no other Born to be found in Germany today.” 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” helped to shape the science of the twentieth century and open the door to the modern era. Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, and Eugene Wigner, among others, flocked to Göttingen, Germany in the 1920’s to work with Born, the physicist who had discovered one of the most profound principles of the century - the physics of indeterminacy. In a cruel twist of fate Born, a pacifist who loved science for its beauty, had educated these renowned scientists who developed the atom bomb. Not everyone embraced Born’s revolutionary quantum principle. Throughout much of his forty year friendship with Einstein, the two debated the nature of the universe - deterministic versus non-deterministic - with Einstein declaring “God does not play dice”, even though the Nobel Committee supported Born’s position when they awarded him the 1954 Prize. A social history and a history of science as well as an intimate biography, The End of the Certain World reveals the story of a great physicist and humanitarian and his struggle with the forces of religion, politics, and war during the upheavals of the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
German physicist Max Born (1882-1970) was Werner Heisenberg's mentor on the experiments in quantum mechanics that earned Heisenberg the 1932 Nobel Prize and enduring fame; one of the most valuable contributions of Greenspan's biography, the first ever of Born, is an analysis of the backstage considerations that excluded Born from sharing in that honor. (He was recognized more than 20 years later for related research.) Although Born's theoretical breakthroughs get some explanation, Greenspan is much more concerned with the human drama behind the science, and, granted access by the family to Born's papers, she uses them to significant effect in drawing out her tale. Born's struggle for full recognition from his peers is placed in the context of the anti-Semitic milieu of early 20th-century Germany and a turbulent marriage that at one point resulted in a nervous breakdown. When the Nazis took power, Born was forced to resign his university post and flee with his family to England; his efforts as a refugee to regain personal and professional stability provide some of the biography's most poignant moments. This empathetic work, Greenspan's first solo effort, lifts a deserving figure out of semi-obscurity and adds a valuable perspective on the origin of modern physics. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738206936
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.27 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Thorndike Greenspan has co-authored three books with her husband, child psychiatrist Stanley Greenspan. She has spent the past four years gathering, translating, and cataloging documents from archives around the world for The End of the Certain World. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

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