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The Physicists Paperback – 23 Sep 2008

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: House of Stratus; New edition edition (23 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842324365
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842324363
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,164,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

C.P. Snow was born in Leicester, on 15 October 1905. He was educated from age 11 at Alderman Newton's School for boys where he excelled in most subjects, enjoying a reputation for an astounding memory. In 1923 he gained an external scholarship in science at London University, whilst working as a laboratory assistant at Newton's to gain the necessary practical experience, because Leicester University, as it was to become, had no chemistry or physics departments at that time. Having achieved a first class degree, followed by a Master of Science he won a studentship in 1928 which he used to research at the famous Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. Snow went on to become a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1930 where he also served as a tutor, but his position became increasingly titular as he branched into other areas of activity. In 1934, he began to publish scientific articles in Nature, and then The Spectator before becoming editor of the journal Discovery in 1937. However, he was also writing fiction during this period and in 1940 'Strangers and Brothers' was published. This was the first of eleven novels in the series and was later renamed 'George Passant' when 'Strangers and Brothers' was used to denote the series itself. Discovery became a casualty of the war, closing in 1940. However, by this time Snow was already involved with the Royal Society, who had organised a group to specifically use British scientific talent operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour. He served as the Ministry's technical director from 1940 to 1944. After the war, Snow became a civil service commissioner responsible for recruiting scientists to work for the government. He also returned to writing, continuing the Strangers and Brothers series of novels. 'The Light and the Dark' was published in 1947, followed by 'Time of Hope' in 1949, and perhaps the most famous and popular of them all, 'The Masters', in 1951. He planned to finish the cycle within five years, but the final novel 'Last Things' wasn't published until 1970. He married the novelist Pamela Hansford Johnson in 1950 and they had one son, Philip, in 1952. Snow was knighted in 1957 and became a life peer in 1964, taking the title Baron Snow of the City Leicester. He also joined Harold Wilson's first government as Parliamentary Secretary to the new Minister of Technology. When the department ceased to exist in 1966 he became a vociferous back-bencher in the House of Lords. After finishing the Strang

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Format: Paperback
I first read this book 30 years or so ago and enjoyed it very much as a readable and informative survey of 20th-Century physics and the people who developed it, including the development of the atom bomb and it is still very good.

CP Snow was a fine scientist himself and also a very accomplished novelist, so this is a very well-informed and well written account. It is often anecdotal and discursive. We get a good account of the science, written in terms a lay person could follow, and insights into the lives and characters of the scientists themselves. There is some pretty well-known stuff, like the famous walk in the snow by Lise Meitner and her nephew Otto Frisch which yielded the idea of nuclear fission, but also smaller, more intimate insights and personal sketches - often of people whom Snow knew personally.

This was the last thing Snow wrote and is a draft completed just before his death in 1980 of a planned longer work. It works very well as it is and its concision is a bonus, I think - Snow could be somewhat long-winded for my taste and this is admirably to the point throughout. The book won't serve as a definitive history, but is an excellent and enjoyable overview, very well illustrated with photographs. I had studied a lot of this stuff in some depth but still enjoyed it a great deal, and it would be an excellent introduction for the non-scientist. Recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A wonderful summary of the background to modern Physics from about 1900 to 1980 , from Planck to Feynman. C.P.Snow as a very competent scientist and novelist was almost uniquely placed to give a very readable overview of the development of quantum physics and relativity and of the personalities involved. The development and stories behind the development of the atom bomb and the hydrogen bomb are well covered in terms of the technical issues, personalities, and moral issues involved. Snow presents all this in a very readable fashion with many new (to me ) anecdotes about the scientists involved.
Apparently he managed to write this largely from memory with little research. A pity in some ways as I would have liked the book to have been considerably longer. I suspect that Snow's insight into the characters of the Physicists involved was tremendously accurate . It certainly fitted well with everything worthwhile I had read previously and in most cases gave fresh insights as well.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x94031d38) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9403f048) out of 5 stars A terrific overview of great science in the 20th century. 6 Nov. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Physics in the 20th century has become something that even non-scientists know something about. Albert Einstein and some of the other greats have become household names, invoked almost as often as the names of deities. On the other hand, the purity and innocence of physics was forever changed by the development of the atomic bomb, causing a kind of dreadful fear of science in mainstream culture. C.P. Snow gives a wonderful picture of how it all came about, up to 1980. His anecdotes and personal sketches of the major figures read like short biographies of old friends. He shows how atomic weapons were developed, each step building on the previous ones, until the ultimate destruction became inevitable. He also writes of hope for the future: hope in new minds and new discoveries. The book is well-illustrated with black and white photographs and drawings and it is not too long to read in a couple of evenings.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94041240) out of 5 stars An enjoyable, readable account of 20th-Century physics 12 May 2013
By Sid Nuncius - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I first read this book 30 years or so ago and enjoyed it very much as a readable and informative survey of 20th-Century physics and the people who developed it, including the development of the atom bomb and it is still very good.

CP Snow was a fine scientist himself and also a very accomplished novelist, so this is a very well-informed and well written account. It is often anecdotal and discursive. We get a good account of the science, written in terms a lay person could follow, and insights into the lives and characters of the scientists themselves. There is some pretty well-known stuff, like the famous walk in the snow by Lise Meitner and her nephew Otto Frisch which yielded the idea of nuclear fission, but also smaller, more intimate insights and personal sketches - often of people whom Snow knew personally.

This was the last thing Snow wrote and is a draft completed just before his death in 1980 of a planned longer work. It works very well as it is and its concision is a bonus, I think - Snow could be somewhat long-winded for my taste and this is admirably to the point throughout. The book won't serve as a definitive history, but is an excellent and enjoyable overview, very well illustrated with photographs. I had studied a lot of this stuff in some depth but still enjoyed it a great deal, and it would be an excellent introduction for the non-scientist. Recommended.
HASH(0x94041270) out of 5 stars An Interesting Popular History 23 May 2014
By Uriel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While I did not learn any new things about Physics as a science, I did enjoy this well written easily understandable book. In my view, you don't need much background in Physics or Math to understand and enjoy this book
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