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Oliver Heaviside: Sage in Solitude: The Life, Work and Times of an Electrical Genius of the Victorian Age Hardcover – 1988


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Amazon.com: 5 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Out-of-Print----BUT NOT FOR LONG 15 Mar 2001
By Paul J. Nahin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As the author of this book, you may want to ignore my rating! I am really writing to simply note that the book will be reprinted late in 2001 or early in 2002 by The Johns Hopkins University Press. I have written a new introduction for the JHUP edition to bring the book up-to-date on all the latest about Heaviside.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Revealing biography of a hermit genius 1 Aug 2004
By A reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Oliver Heaviside was born in London in 1850, the youngest of four sons of a poor and often brutal wood engraver. Oliver never attended college and had only one job for only six years: as a telegraph clerk and technician. Nevertheless he taught himself college-level mathematics and physics. He grew to become a respected expert in electromagnetism: He independently developed vector analysis and thereby cast Maxwell's equations into their modern form. He also studied transmission lines, inventing operator calculus to do so. In studying the electrodynamics of a moving charged sphere, he, with George Searle, anticipated aspects of Einstein's special relativity. However, throughout his adult life he seems to have been handicapped by chronic depression, which made him a cantankerous loner.

This book will be understood and appreciated best by readers who are familiar with college-level electromagnetism. However, the author does try to appeal to a wider audience: he relegates mathematical aspects of Heaviside's work to appendices. (I would have preferred more math since that's the basis of Heaviside's reputation.) The text is liberally sprinkled with excerpts from Heaviside's correspondence and with the author's first-person comments. (I would have preferred a little less of both.) References are abundant. This book should be regarded as the definitive biography of this curious, inspiring genius.
A great book 18 Jan 2014
By K. Giridharan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a classic. Not just a biography. Gives an unbeatable perspective on development of communication engineering. And an insight in to workings of a rare genius. Well structured book.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Book's title is misleading 4 Feb 2011
By Ray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book was suggested to me by my EM professor, because I am doing an independent study on EE history. I tried...I REALLY tried reading this book. And it reads like molasses in January. I was able to drag the reading out to chapter 7. My biggest complaint about the book is that the title of the book is misleading. The book's title should be changed, to what? How about, "Victorian England, Preece, Telegraphy, Maxwell, Maxwell's equations, Wheatstone, Thomson, etc., oh yeah and Oliver Heaviside, too."
I wanted to find out about Oliver Heaviside, the man and his life. However, after seven chapters of the same thing, in which 80% of each chapter is about everybody else, and 20% what O.H. thought about the first 80%, I had to cry "uncle!" and put the book down. What is the difference between accuracy and precision? Let's just say that the author was accurate about his topic...but not precise. (Just google "what is the difference between accuracy & precission?" and click on images, and you'll get the idea.)
I will applaud Dr. Nahin for striking a balance between story, mathematics and EM theory. However, I wished that Dr. Nahin would have struck a better balance between his subject and his subject's environment. Sadly, I ended up believing that the book's topic of least importance, was Oliver Heaviside.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
More than about Crazy Love, it is Crazy Love! 29 Jan 2008
By A Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
From page xi:

"To write this book required that I be willing to spend hours and days and weeks and months and years reading Heaviside...and to be honest and frank with you, it was hard to do. IT ALMOST DID ME IN, and I now understand why so many of his readers tore their hair out trying to read him. I do not sneer at historians who may have once thought of doing a book like this but then thought the better of it once they realized what they would have to go through."

From far down the page xii:

"But no matter, it has been a labor of love. ... Indeed, as the job draws to a close I am bedeviled by the question, what do I do now?"

And a little farther down on xii:

"...made me feel as close as I'll ever come to my hero, that intrepid professor of action and romance, Indiana Jones."
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