Bird of Passage: Recollections of a Physicist (Princeton Legacy Library)

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9780691083902: Bird of Passage: Recollections of a Physicist (Princeton Legacy Library)
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Here is the intensely personal and often humorous autobiography of one of the most distinguished theoretical physicists of his generation, Sir Rudolf Peierls. Born in Germany in 1907, Peierls was indeed a bird of passage," whose career of fifty-five years took him to leading centers of physics--including Munich, Leipzig, Zurich, Copenhagen, Cambridge, Manchester, Oxford, and J. Robert Oppenheimer's Los Alamos. Peierls was a major participant in the revolutionary development of quantum mechanics in the 1920s and 1930s, working with some of the pioneers and, as he puts it, "some of the great characters" in this field.


Originally published in 1985.


The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.


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Review:

"[This] fascinating autobiography not only attests to [Peierls's] having been in on the most important scientific developments since the mid-1920s--in brief, the quantum revolution--but his lively account of the events of this period, and of its main actors, their contributions, and--with respect and sympathy--their quirks, provides a significant contribution to the scientific history of our time."--Bernard T. Feld, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

"Anybody with some interest in the way scientists live, feel and think, should read this book. They will be richly rewarded and entertained."--Victor Weisskopf, London Times Higher Education Supplement

"He knew everyone in the small pre-war physics world, and stories of his many friends are told delightfully."--Sir Nevill Mott, Physics Bulletin

"This is an excellent book with far more in it than I can mention here, which I wholeheartedly recommend."--David Hall, Scope

From Publishers Weekly:

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
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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