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Strange Beauty: Murray Gell-Mann and the Revolution in Twentieth-century Physics Hardcover – 27 Jan 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; First edition (27 Jan. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224044273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224044271
  • Package Dimensions: 25.1 x 17 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 394,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Murray Gell-Mann is a leading light in 20th- century physics, yet his name rings few bells outside of those interested in particle physics. Science writer George Johnson was fortunate enough to develop a friendly relationship with the great scientist and his biography Strange Beauty glows with a rare intimacy gained from a notoriously private and irascible man.

From his childhood in New York City to his current scientific elder-statesman status in New Mexico, Johnson explores Gell-Mann's life in glorious detail. A passionate, jealous and brilliant man, he was capable of both profound insight and bitter lifelong rivalries, but Johnson finds much more to the man than these two simple poles; Gell-Mann's volatile family life and deft academic manoeuvring also find room in this expansive biography.

The reader finds that Johnson's careful attention to detail shows more than it tells through enlightening stories of Gell-Mann's troubled, romantic or pretentious dealings with peers, family and even strangers. Explaining his strange surname means investigating old phone books, scientific legend and family history, as the scientist is unwilling to shed light on the mystery (it turns out that his father hyphenated it and Murray dreamed up etymologies as needed--giving rise to the tangled web of myths). Johnson is up to the challenge of recording the life story of a man nearly as strange as the quarks he discovered and named, and Strange Beautylives up to the promise of its title. --Rob Lightner,


"A multidimensional portrait of a brilliant but tormented man who dominated elementary physics for twenty years... An almost Shakespearean hero."--The New York Times Book Review
"Skillfully and engagingly written."--Science --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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on 14 March 2001
Format: Paperback
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Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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