Cover: Blackett: Physics, War, and Politics in the Twentieth Century, from Harvard University PressCover: Blackett in E-DITION


Physics, War, and Politics in the Twentieth Century

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$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674335752

Publication Date: 10/30/2004

255 pages

11 halftones, 1 line illustration


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A wonderfully faithful and readable biography.—Oren Harman, The New Republic

At the heart of Mary Jo Nye’s thought-provoking biography of British physicist and Nobel laureate Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett is the question of whether science and politics mix. In exploring Blackett’s life, Nye portrays a researcher, political adviser and scientific leader willing to take risks, move into new areas of research and speak out on matters of politics and war. In doing so, she addresses the important question of how (and at what price) once can reconcile a scientific career with political activism… By displaying his commitment to science and society through his moral courage, Blackett exemplified the modern scientist acting as a good public citizen.—W. Patrick McCray, American Scientist

In Blackett: Physics, War, and Politics in the Twentieth Century, Mary Jo Nye, a well-known historian of science, has produced for a general readership a splendid biography of this remarkably multi-faceted man. Of particular note are her discussions on Blackett’s new universal law of nature and her analysis of Blackett’s looks, leadership style, presence, friendships, and connections.—David Edgerton, Physics Today

Mary Jo Nye has written a concise scholarly biography of this remarkable man, giving the detailed background to his achievement while unsentimentally describing the traits that made him so controversial… [Blackett’s] was a remarkable life, and we are fortunate that a scholar as meticulous as Nye is the first to write it.—Graham Farmelo, The Times Higher Education Supplement

A careful narrative, refreshing in its brevity.—Roy Macleod, British Journal for the History of Science

Twice I sat down and read it through from start to finish without getting up. On each occasion, I had the rare experience of encountering a book which I wished had been longer. Some of the credit belongs to Blackett as a profoundly interesting human being and it is easier to write an interesting book about an interesting person than about a boring one; some also certainly belongs to Professor Nye who has gained an easy and readable writing style.—C.W. Francis Everitt, Stanford University

This is an important study; it provides numerous fresh insights into the rich and multifaceted life and work of Blackett and hence will be of great interest to historians and scientists.—Roger Stuewer, University of Minnesota

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