The Martians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century

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ISBN 13 Convenient attribute of this writing is its apportionment into six chapters to reveal their progressive transition from early childhood into figures of greatness and thence onto their waning years.

The Martians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century

It reflects their family influences, societal environs, politico-economic conditions, scholastic opportunities, and acceptance into American cultural institutions as Princeton, Harvard, Berkeley, Caltech and the U. Perhaps most importantly are descriptors of personal interactions amongst the Martians themselves. That the author is an acclaimed writer, recognized scientist, Professor of chemistry, authored several dozen books and is personally acquainted with and interviewed several of the 'Martians' is a plus.

Its a good read and the price is right.

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As we start, we see what a great education can do as the five 5 did receive early intensive training in their outstanding "gymnasiums" of Hungary. Even though the education was so very good and produced many great students, these five still stood out to the point as if they were from Mars as the title depicts. As their academic reputations started to grow and the difficulties of the 1st war, they all had some experience of working or immigrating away from Hungary. As the 2nd war approached, all could see the writing on the wall and it was easier to immigrate a second time of which the US was the lucky recipient.

Upon arrival to the US, it did not take too long as they started to display their political influence since they saw or knew what was going on in Europe and that war was coming and felt that the US needed to wake up and be prepared. This persistance took time but paid off as all were involved in some way with the development of the 1st atomic bomb both technically and politically. This continued on for some time for all of their collective careers, as after WWII, the cold war commenced and new problems were present with the atomic age upon us. The interactions between each of the Martians and between the people they met makes for some interesting side points which makes for some very good historical and political persectives if your interested in any of the above.

A unique look at a unique topic From Amazon As the daughter of the book's author, I bring an unusual perspective to this piece, one that will give you some background on how this book came about and why you will be in for a treat when reading it. My father knew two of the five Martians discussed in this volume Wigner and Teller and had expressed a great interest in the work and lives of all five Szilard, von Neumann, von Karman in addition to the above two throughout his life.


Curiously, however, despite having written numerous books about scientists, he never intended to write a book about these five until Oxford University Press approached him about it. When he finally took up this project, he threw himself into it with zest. When the book was near completion, he met with almost all of the surviving children of the Martians, not to change anything but to get an additional impression of their personalities.

A byproduct of the book was a play he wrote about Teller, which surprised even me despite being used to his occasional unusual ideas.

Looking back, the Martians were always on my father's mind, and he cherished his long-lasting personal acquaintance with Eugene P. Even as a child, I remember seeing the picture of the two of them taken upon their encounter at the University of Texas at Austin in The family legend had it that we might be distant relatives, but there was never any hard evidence for that.

My father started correspondence with Wigner when he was still a student, well before I was born.

Actually, Wigner wrote him first after my father had published an article in a Hungarian literary magazine soon after Wigner's Nobel Prize. My father's acquaintance with Teller came much later, when he and my mother visited the Tellers in their home in Stanford in Having read The Martians of Science, I feel as if I had become personally acquainted with all five of the people discussed in the volume.

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It is fascinating to see that such incredible people emerge from just one country to contribute so much to science and to the defense of the United States. Someone suggested that they had come from Mars, but to disguise themselves they spoke Hungarian.

The Greatest Scientist of the 20th Century You've Probably Never Heard Of

The story has several variants, but the conclusion is the same, and nobody ever questioned its trustworthiness. All of them played a role in the technical developments of the twentieth century. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. No cover image.

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Read preview. From Hungary to Germany to the United States, they remained friends and continued 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.