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85 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dirac, the definitive biography
Dirac was one of the founders of quantum theory and one of the most profound and original minds of the twentieth century. But, as the title of this book says, he was also a very strange man, austere in his personal relations, sometimes to the point of perversity, and unable to communicate, either emotionally or verbally, except with only a few very close friends. The...
Published on 19 Mar 2009 by Brian R. Martin

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55 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Author's Explanation of the Science Just Doesn't Work
I was an undergraduate at St John's, Cambridge in Dirac's time. I wanted to relish this book. But I can't. It has been greatly overrated.

The biographer of a great scientist has a massive problem: the science. Say nothing about the science and you omit the very thing that made the scientist notable; get deep into the science, and you greatly reduce the...
Published on 5 Aug 2009 by B. J. O'Brien


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dirac Nobel Prize winner 1933, 17 Feb 2011
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An excellent read particularly if you have any science or mathematical interest gives also an interesting insight to the society with which he and his contemporaries mixed.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Admirable, 4 April 2009
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Peter Munn (Chambery, France) - See all my reviews
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I heartily agree with the other reviews; the style is admirable and approaches a very difficult person extremely well. It was exciting following each step of the international race to develop the rules of quantum mechanics then becoming much more complex because of the Second World War. I cannot decide whether Manci was a saint or a selfish prig. She blessed Dirac but also seemed to have damaged her children??
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 27 July 2010
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C. Parkinson (Preston, England) - See all my reviews
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Reading about a genius, whatever his quirks, is always enjoyable and this is no exception. It is also very well written.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 31 July 2011
At best the book provides a useful description of Dirac, his fellow scientists, and his family. However there is no science of any note whatsoever. To have got through to the end of the book, and still have had no real description of the Dirac equation, was extremely disappointing.

Because I was reading the book on my Kindle the end of the text came as a surprise. I kept thinking the real science was about to come, but found that half the book was bibliographies, contents, indexes, footnotes, etc.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars dirac biography, 13 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius (Kindle Edition)
A very interesting and well told story though the quantum physics was a bit hard going for an Arts graduate.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars prompt and hassle-free service, 26 Feb 2010
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Mr. M. Dvorak - See all my reviews
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Book arrived very quickly, brand new and wrapped up nicely. Overall very happy with this purchase. Thanks lots.
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5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book?, 15 Feb 2010
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Is this a good book?

Why would you want my opinion? As Dirac would have said.
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5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Paul Dirac, 7 Feb 2010
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Gordon Jones - See all my reviews
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This is a very good book, but as it deals with relativity and quantum mechanics, it is not easy for the layman to understand
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seems interesting., 28 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius (Kindle Edition)
Actually bought this by accident but decided not to cancel the purchase. Shall get around to reading it fully eventually.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SCIENCE AS AUTISM, 8 April 2010
In many ways this book tries a very difficult task,ie to make a scientist's life credible and meaningful without omitting the science or overdoing it.For me the model is Hodge's book on Turing and this book in some ways resembles it.Alan Turing: The Enigma
The opening and the end bring something terribly tragic into view.I have experience of teaching autistic children and the author's description of Dirac adjacent to some descRiptions of autism should really leave noone in any doubt.Again vide Turing.The paths of the 2 geniuses are very similar too in ways ,strange that they never interacted.
So psychologically the book is very interesting due to the author's great affection for what most people would have experienced as a taciturn and impossibly damaged soul.
The centre of the book has to me some dullish passages where sometimes the whole thing starts to feel perfunctory and written with only three quarter interest.I did not quite grasp ( as an interested layperson) quite what was so unique about Dirac COMPARED TO HIS CONTEMPORARIES except perhaps a glimmer in the author's references to projective geometry.It would have been interesting to hear a little more about the positron too,what the author gives was more or less what any popular article might have said .
It was a good read though even if one does not feel very drawn to Dirac at the end!
Someone might do well to explore the very potent links near the close of the book about the connections between the Male Brain,Autism,and modern science .
If one translated Dirac back into the middle ages one might fancy one saw a monk,labouring under fierce penitential disciplines ,almost starved in his soul ,but compensating by developing in lonely meditation uniquely expressed views about the nature of God nature and reality etc.Maybe much of science depends not on having a healthy balanced soul ,but a tortured one?
Maybe healthy balanced souls would produce a science more accessible generous and productive ,as opposed to one so apt to slip into war ,ambition and destruction.
One quibble. I get so sick of hearing about these Nobel Prizes which litter all the science books .Is that why they all want to discover something? To get a silly HONOUR? That whole rigmarole strikes me as ludicrous.The sort of Watson Crick mentality about Nobel prizes seems very immature.maybe these scientists are undeveloped children?
The finale of the book did lead in this direction rather.
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