Einstein Wrote Back: My Life in Physics by John W. MoffatEinstein Wrote Back: My Life in Physics by John W. Moffat

Einstein Wrote Back: My Life in Physics

byJohn W. Moffat

Hardcover | September 18, 2010

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John W. Moffat was a poor student of math and science. That is, until he read Einstein's famous paper on general relativity. Realizing instantly that he had an unusual and unexplained aptitude for understanding the complex physics described in the paper, Moffat wrote a letter to Einstein that would change the course of his life.

Einstein Wrote Back tells the story of Moffat's unusual entry into the world of academia and documents his career at the frontlines of twentieth-century physics as he worked and associated with some of the greatest minds in scientific history, including Niels Bohr, Fred Hoyle, Wolfgang Pauli, Paul Dirac, Erwin Schrödinger, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Abdus Salam, among others.

Taking readers inside the classrooms and minds of these giants of modern science, Moffat affectionately exposes the foibles and eccentricities of these great men, as they worked on the revolutionary ideas that, today, are the very foundation of modern physics and cosmology.

John W. Moffat is the author of Reinventing Gravity: A Physicist Goes Beyond Einstein. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo, as well as a member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario. For more information, please visit www.johnwmoffat.com.
Title:Einstein Wrote Back: My Life in PhysicsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 0.88 inPublished:September 18, 2010Publisher:DundurnLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0887626157

ISBN - 13:9780887626159

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fascinating Scientific Memoir I don't imagine that there are many physicists alive today who have met and interacted with so many of the great physicists of the twentieth century as the author of this book has. Starting with his turbulent childhood in war-torn Europe and progressing on from there, the author recounts his unusual education and how he discovered his great affinity and talent for theoretical physics. As the chapters roll by, the author relates his life as a physicist and often focuses on his interactions with several of the giants of twentieth century physics. This is particularly interesting because of the little-known quirks that many of them had that are related here. Throughout this memoir the reader becomes aware of the intense competitiveness in the world of cutting-edge theoretical physics and one can see the (occasionally-less-than-honest) reality of how science works at that level. The writing style is clear, friendly, often quite lively and very engaging. As to accessibility, the author occasionally describes details of his work, some of which can prove rather challenging to a general audience. Consequently, although a general reader can still fully enjoy this book by skipping over the more technical passages, science buffs, especially those with a physics background, would likely benefit the most. On a technical note, there is an error in the footnote at the bottom of page 33. The note states that a photon is emitted from an atom when one of its electrons makes a transition from a lower energy level to a higher one, and when an electron absorbs a photon it goes from a higher energy state to a lower one. In fact, the exact opposite of this occurs.
Date published: 2010-11-19

Editorial Reviews

Moffat ably renders controversies in physics in layman's terms, and has a gift for explaining complex ideas without seeming to patronize. Best of all, the entertainment quotient of the books is high, and his portraits of the giants he has known are illuminating and frequently hilarious. - Maclean's