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The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius by Graham Farmelo

The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius

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Winner of the Costa Biography Award 2009.

Costa Book Awards 2009 Judges' comment: "Moving, funny, sad and intensely readable, this is a fascinating insight into the psychology of genius."


The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius by Graham Farmelo

Paul Dirac was one of the leading pioneers of the greatest revolution in 20th-century science: quantum mechanics. One of the youngest theoreticians ever to win the Nobel Prize for Physics, he was also pathologically reticent, strangely literal-minded and legendarily unable to communicate or empathize. Through his greatest period of productivity, his postcards home contained only remarks about the weather. Based on a previously undiscovered archive of family papers, Graham Farmelo celebrates Dirac's massive scientific achievement while drawing a compassionate portrait of his life and work. Farmelo shows a man who, while hopelessly socially inept, could manage to love and sustain close friendship. 'The Strangest Man' is an extraordinary and moving human story, as well as a study of one of the most exciting times in scientific history.

About the Author

Graham Farmelo

Graham Farmelo is Senior Research Fellow at the Science Museum, London, and Adjunct Professor of Physics at Northeastern University, Boston, USA. He edited the best-selling It Must be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science in 2002. His biography of Paul Dirac, The Strangest Man, won the 2009 Costa Biography Prize and the 2010 Los Angeles Times Science Book Prize.

Author photo © Paul Stuart

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Book Info

Publication date

22nd January 2009


Graham Farmelo

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Biography / Autobiography
All Shortlists and Winners



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