The title is based on a comment by physicist Niels Bohr four years before his death that of all the scientists who had visited his institute, Dirac was "the strangest man". Throughout the book, Dirac's work and his unusual personality is explored, with his reservedness, apparent lack of empathy, and relentless literal-mindedness leading way to several humorous anecdotes. For example, when approached by two graduate students, while on a brief visit to Berkeley , Dirac sat through a brief presentation about their work on quantum field theory , bracing themselves for his perceptive comments, there was a long silence, after which Dirac asked them "Where is the post office? The book is divided into thirty-one chapters, each beginning with a short epigraph and covering a set time period, for example, chapter Twenty-one is entitled "January Summer ", and begins with a short quote by Paul Carus. The book has a comprehensive set of notes , index , and six pages of black and white photographs.

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The title is based on a comment by physicist Niels Bohr four years before his death that of all the scientists who had visited his institute, Dirac was "the strangest man". Throughout the book, Dirac's work and his unusual personality is explored, with his reservedness, apparent lack of empathy, and relentless literal-mindedness leading way to several humorous anecdotes. For example, when approached by two graduate students, while on a brief visit to Berkeley , Dirac sat through a brief presentation about their work on quantum field theory , bracing themselves for his perceptive comments, there was a long silence, after which Dirac asked them "Where is the post office?

The book is divided into thirty-one chapters, each beginning with a short epigraph and covering a set time period, for example, chapter Twenty-one is entitled "January Summer ", and begins with a short quote by Paul Carus. The book has a comprehensive set of notes , index , and six pages of black and white photographs.

In the final chapter, Farmelo presents arguments that Dirac may have been autistic and that this partially explains Dirac's well-known personality eccentricities. Online literary magazine Bookhugger. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Books portal. The Daily Telegraph. Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 4 July Retrieved 30 March Categories : non-fiction books Faber and Faber books Physics books Books about scientists. Namespaces Article Talk.

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## Paul Dirac: The man who conjured laws of nature from pure thought

This biography is a gift. It is both wonderfully written certainly not a given in the category Accessible Biographies of Mathematical Physicists and a thought-provoking meditation on human achievement, limitations and the relations between the two. Here we find a man with an almost miraculous apprehension of the structure of the physical world, coupled with gentle incomprehension of that less logical, messier world, the world of other people. At Cambridge University in , Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar took a class in quantum mechanics from the year-old Paul Dirac. Three years later, Dirac would become the youngest theoretician to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics up to that time 50 years after that, Chandrasekhar would become one of the older ones. He walks quite close to the walls like a thief! Dirac is the main character of a thousand humorous tales told among physicists for his monosyllabic approach to conversation and his innocent, relentless application of logic to everything.

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## The Strangest Man

I read the book on the plane trip back to New York and very much enjoyed it. Dirac is responsible for several of the great breakthroughs in 20th century physics. Two years later he found the correct relativistic generalization of the Schrodinger equation, the Dirac equation, which to this day is at the basis of our modern understanding of particle physics. This equation also turns out to play a fundamental role in mathematics, linking analysis, geometry and topology through the Atiyah-Singer index theorem.

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## The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom

Here's a puzzle. Bristol boy — slightly older contemporary of Bristol's other boy Cary Grant — has an unhappy childhood, but doesn't mention it for 50 years; learns to speak French, German and Russian, but becomes famous for his long silences; embarks on the wrong career; gets interested in mathematics and ends up at Cambridge, where he becomes famous for his even longer silences; hears about Einstein and gets into advanced physics; and then goes to Copenhagen to meet Niels Bohr, who grumbles to Ernest Rutherford, "This Dirac, he seems to know a lot of physics, but he never says anything. Somehow this silent, solemn, young beanpole earns the enthusiastic friendship and admiration of vibrant and merrymaking geniuses such as Bohr himself, Robert Oppenheimer, Werner Heisenberg, George Gamow, Peter Kapitza and so on, without, apparently, initiating reciprocal entertainment or conversation. His discoveries are in quantum mechanics, a subject that remains opaque even after 80 years of continuous exposition.

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## Quantum Leap

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