Martians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century by Istvan HargittaiMartians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century by Istvan Hargittai

Martians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century

byIstvan Hargittai

Paperback | June 15, 2008

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If science has the equivalent of a Bloomsbury group, it is the five men born at the turn of the twentieth century in Budapest: Theodore von Karman, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, John von Neumann, and Edward Teller. From Hungary to Germany to the United States, they remained friends andcontinued to work together and influence each other throughout their lives. As a result, their work was integral to some of the most important scientific and political developments of the twentieth century. Istvan Hargittai tells the story of this remarkable group: Wigner won a Nobel Prize in theoretical physics; Szilard was the first to see that a chain reaction based on neutrons was possible, initiated the Manhattan Project, but left physics to try to restrict nuclear arms; von Neumann couldsolve difficult problems in his head and developed the modern computer for more complex problems; von Karman became the first director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, providing the scientific basis for the U.S. Air Force; and Teller was the father of the hydrogen bomb, whose name is nowsynonymous with the controversial "Star Wars" initiative of the 1980s. Each was fiercely opinionated, politically active, and fought against all forms of totalitarianism. Hargittai, as a young Hungarian physical chemist, was able to get to know some of these great men in their later years, and the depth of information and human interest in The Martians of Science is the result of his personal relationships with the subjects, their families, and theircontemporaries. "This is an important story that needs to be told, and Hargittai tells it well." --Nature "What a story! Hargittai, a Jewish-Hungarian like his heroes, tells the remarkable story of five immigrants, of vastly different politics, without whom American science (and the world) would not be the same." --Roald Hoffmann, Nobel laureate, Cornell University
Istvan Hargittai is Professor of Chemistry and head of the George A. Olah PhD School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and has lectured in some 30 countries and taught at several universities in the United States. His books i...
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Title:Martians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth CenturyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:June 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195365569

ISBN - 13:9780195365566

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Editorial Reviews

"What a story! Five brilliant Jewish-Hungarian kids burst out of the great secondary schools of Hungary, learn their physics in Germany, and give their all to America in WWII Istvan Hargittai, a Jewish Hungarian like his heroes, tells the remarkable story of five immigrants of vastly different politics, without whom American science (and the world) would not be the same."--Roald Hoffman, Nobel Laureate, Ithaca, New York "Istvan Hargittai traces the turbulent lives of five uniquely creative scientists who survived, succeeded, and changed the world."--Arno Penzias, Nobel laureate, San Francisco "This is an important story that needs to be told, and Hargittai tells it well."--Nature "Hargittai's book is subtle and thoughtful."--Physics Today Charlie Munger of WESCO Financial Corporation recommended this book at the 2007 WESCO Annual Meeting: "It is a hell of a book about five Hungarian physicists driven to the U.S. by Hitler, who contributed much to science here. I can't recommend it enough."--Charlie Munger "fascinating and informative"--Chemical Heritage