112 Mercer Street: Einstein, Russell, Godel, Pauli, and the End of Innocence in Science

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9781611453652: 112 Mercer Street: Einstein, Russell, Godel, Pauli, and the End of Innocence in Science
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A piquant narrative restoring to modern science its full human meaning.

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Burton Feldman earned his PhD in the History of Ideas and Science at the University of Chicago. He taught at the Universities of Chicago, Maryland, Denver, Colorado at Boulder, and at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and wrote on religion and myth, literary criticism, and politics. He passed away in 2003.

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*Starred Review* To provide a fresh perspective on modern science, Feldman takes his readers not to a laboratory but rather to a living room—the one in Einstein's home on Princeton's quiet Mercer Street. During the 1940s, the aging genius regularly used this room to host another revolutionary scientist (Wolfgang Pauli) and two iconoclastic logicians (Bertrand Russell and Kurt Gödel) to discuss the vistas opening to serious thinkers. No one recorded these remarkable discussions, but Feldman's careful research into the lives of these four titans gives rich substance to his conjectures about their colloquies. Personal and historical circumstances, Feldman concludes, surely guided these four toward collective realization of the pathos and paradox inherent in their greatest accomplishments. All past their creative prime, this luminous foursome recognized not only how their own mental powers were flagging but also how their younger successors were incorporating their boldest work into yet more daring new paradigms. Einstein, in particular, watched in horror as his formulas became part of a quantum universe barren of certainties. And deep dismay enveloped all four as they contemplated how talented colleagues—notably Oppenheimer and Heisenberg—were harnessing pure science to the machinery of war. A piquant narrative restoring to modern science its full human meaning. Christensen, Bryce

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9781559707046: 112 Mercer Street: Einstein, Russell, Godel, Pauli, and the End of Innocence in Science

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