Physicists on Wall Street and Other Essays on Science and Society

Physicists on Wall Street and Other Essays on Science and Society

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Description

Over the years, Jeremy Bernstein has been in contact with many of the world's most renowned physicists and other scientists, many of whom were involved in politics, literature, and language. In this diverse collection of essays, he reflects on their work, their personal relationships, their motives, and their contributions. Even for those people he writes about that he did not know personally, he provides important insights into their lives and work, and questions their character, their decisions, and the lives they led.


In the first three essays, Professor Bernstein looks at economic theory and how some physicists who developed interesting economic models based on derivatives and hedge funds almost led to the country into bankruptcy. In later essays, he discusses a suspect visit to Poland by the great Heisenberg during the Nazi era, a visit that there is almost nothing written about.


Included also are essays on ancient languages and a nuclear weapons program in South Africa that was supposedly dismantled. In one particularly humorous essay, he describes how an ill-conceived manned spaceship to be powered by an atomic bomb was being developed by some of the country's most powerful intellects. The project never got off the ground.


Dipping into these pages is like rummaging around in the mind of a genius who has a potpourri of interests and an abundance of fascinating experiences. Bernstein has not only rubbed elbows with some of the finest minds in world, he has worked and played with them. He has sometimes mourned with them and laughed at them. His sharp wit and even sharper analysis make for a fascinating read.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 182 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 15.24mm | 1,000g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 2008 ed.
  • XII, 182 p.
  • 0387765050
  • 9780387765051

Back cover copy

Over the years, Jeremy Bernstein has been in contact with many of the world's most renowned physicists and other scientists, many of whom were involved in politics, literature, and language. In this diverse collection of essays, he reflects on their work, their personal relationships, their motives, and their contributions. Even for those people he writes about that he did not know personally, he provides important insights into their lives and work, and questions their character, their decisions, and the lives they led.



In the first three essays, for example, Professor Bernstein looks at economic theory and how some physicists who developed interesting economic models based on derivatives and hedge funds almost led to the country into bankruptcy. In later essays, he discusses a suspect visit to Poland by the great Heisenberg during the Nazi era, a visit that there is almost nothing written about.



There are essays on ancient languages and a nuclear weapons program in South Africa that was supposedly dismantled. In one particularly humorous essay, he describes how an ill-conceived manned spaceship to be powered by an atomic bomb was being developed by some of the country's most powerful intellects. Needless to say, the project never got off the ground!



Dipping into these pages is like rummaging around in the mind of a genius who has a potpourri of interests and an abundance of fascinating experiences. Bernstein has not only has rubbed elbows with some of the finest minds in world, he has worked with them and played with them. He has sometimes mourned with them and laughed at them. His sharp wit and even sharper analysis make for reading you simply can't put down.
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Table of contents

Economists.- Options.- Black-Scholes.- The Rise and Fall of the Quants.- Scientists.- Heisenberg in Poland.- The Orion.- Tales from South Africa.- A Nuclear Supermarket.- Ottavio Baldi: The Life and Times of Sir Henry Wotton.- Linguists.- The Spencers of Althorp and Sir William Jones: A Love Story.- All That Glitters.- In a Word, "Lions".- Fiction and Stranger than Fiction.- The Pianist, Fiction and Non-fiction.- Rocket Science.- The Science of Michel Thomas.- Topology.- What the #$*!?.
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About Jeremy Bernstein

Many readers will recognize Bernstein (Cranks, Quarks & the Cosmos, LJ 1/93) as the noted science essayist for the New Yorker for the past 30 years. He has also contributed essays to Scientific American and The Atlantic Monthly. He wrote A Theory for Everything (Copernicus, 1996) which collected some of his essays as well as Hitler's Uranium Club 2e (Copernicus, 1996) and Secrets of the Old One: Einstein, 1905 (Springer, 2006).
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