This is the story of John Herman, a scientist who not only made fundamental contributions in his fields of science, but also led an exciting life, ranging from being chased by a moose in Alaska; surviving a plane wreck in Argentina, and riots in Washington, DC and Lima, Peru; visiting the King of Greece; climbing Longs Peak in Colorado; to tragically losing a son to suicide. John was four when his father was killed and he was raised by his widowed mother in North Carolina and West Virginia. In a random walk pattern he gradually became a world-recognized geophysicist. His early work was in nuclear physics, but most of his career was in ionospheric and atmospheric physics. He mapped the global distribution of terrestrial radio noise from space, and increased our understanding of radio noise characteristics. His book on the effects of solar activity on weather and climate raised a storm of controversy and was translated into Russian and Chinese.
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The Metamorphosis of a Geophysicist based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
In nineteen chapters, prologue and epilogue, John Herman takes the reader from the moment of his birth, through his mix of public and private schooling, military service, college days, family life, and scientific and business careers, finishing with a peek at his current life in retirement in Florida. The conversational style of Herman¿s writing makes the reader comfortable, as one might be in talking with a life long friend, whether he is sharing his exhilaration in making a scientific discovery or the emotional devastation associated with the suicide of his son. If there was ever a person that fit the cliché of being ¿educated in the school of hard knocks¿ it is John Herman. His father died when he was just four years old, and his mother had few skills to earn a living. As she bounced from job to job, place to place, man to man, John was often shuffled off to live with relatives or at private schools, until his mother failed to send money to pay for food and clothes, or to cover the tuition and board. When he joined the Navy, his superiors recognized his exceptional intelligence, but could not overlook the fights that seemed to recur all too often, nor his absences without leave. Many readers will likely be surprised to learn the severity of punishment that the Navy imposed for such lapses ¿ confinement, with a daily ration of bread and water. Herman left the military service and used the G.I. Bill to help him make it through college, then found a civil service job, as a civilian employee of the Navy. Before long he moved to private industry, and later, even started his own company (more than once). Herman¿s research focused on problems that mostly concerned government agencies, including the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA). He made significant contributions to such important scientific and military problems as global communications ¿ particularly to the disruption of radio communications by nuclear detonations and solar storms. He co-authored the book 'Sun, Weather, and Climate,' which was first published by NASA, then reprinted by Dover Press, and was even translated into Russian and Chinese. Most readers will find the physics of Herman¿s research a bit over their heads, but he does a good job of explaining the applications, which were important to the nation. The quality of John Herman¿s scientific work was ultimately recognized by his election to the National Academy of Sciences. 'The Metamorphosis of a Geophysicist' is an entertaining and inspiring book. While it is paperback, it is well bound, there are only a few typographical errors, and it contains a number of interesting photographs. I highly recommend it. Bill Carter, Co-author of 'Latitude,How American Astronomers Solved the Mystery of Variation'