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A Brilliant Darkness: The Extraordinary Life and Disappearance of Ettore Majorana, the Troubled Genius of the Nuclear Age (Anglais) Relié – 7 janvier 2010

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Descriptions du produit

A Brilliant Darkness On the night of March 26th, 1938, nuclear physicist Ettore Majorana boarded a ship in Palermo, cash and a passport in hand. He was never seen again. This book tells the story of Majorana and his research group, nicknamed 'the Via Panisperna Boys', who unknowingly discovered atomic fission in 1934. Full description

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Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 304 pages
  • Editeur : Basic Books; Édition : 1st Edition (7 janvier 2010)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0465009034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465009039
  • Dimensions du produit: 15,6 x 2,7 x 23,5 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 107.560 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Par indira C. le 6 février 2010
Format: Relié
enfin un livre parfaitement documenté sur l'un des personnages les plus fascinants de l'épopée moderne de la Physique.Grace au Ciel pas hagiographique!
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Amazon.com: 10 commentaires
19 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Lively, Original and Captivating 11 décembre 2009
Par G. Poirier - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
The main focus of this fascinating book is the life of brilliant Italian theoretical physicist Ettore Majorana who mysteriously disappeared in 1938 at the young age of 31. Since his body has never been found, many theories abound as to what could have happened to him, e.g., suicide, joining a monastery, moving incognito to another country/continent, being abducted by a foreign power, etc. Majorana's life and disappearance have also been the subjects of various films and books. The author, a theoretical physicist, has done an excellent job of bringing everything together in a widely accessible way. He has travelled abroad to meet key people and see important places to gain as much insight as possible into the life and legend of his brilliant subject, thus making this book part memoir. Intermixed with the biographical/historical information are absorbing chapters focussing on Majorana's science: atomic and nuclear physics, quantum mechanics and particle physics. Although these chapters are a bit technical, they have been written in such a clear and friendly prose that any interested general reader can easily understand them. The many diagrams that these chapters contain are very effective in illustrating the ideas presented in the text.

The writing style is friendly, chatty, very articulate, authoritative, often tongue-in-cheek, and quite engaging; it can also be somewhat irreverent at times and, very occasionally, even a bit crude by science/biography book standards - thus, on the whole, making this a very original and entertaining book. Although anyone could enjoy and learn a great deal from this captivating book, it is most likely the avid science buffs who will appreciate it the most.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Love him or Hate Him... Be Prepared. 18 janvier 2010
Par D. Cassell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Joao Magueijo is the type of author you'll either love or hate. Basically as a reader you need to know what you're getting yourself into. Joao will curse, go into vivid detail about something grotesque, and quiet simply be as crude as possible at times. Thus this book is surely for adult readers. Having read both of Joao Magueijo's books, I can't honestly say he is a particularly good writer, and as hinted at above, the crudeness can be a put off. But nevertheless, I couldn't put either of his books down once I started reading them. It's perhaps because Joao will say the things others dare not say.

Overall in A Brilliant Darkness, Joao Magueijo takes you on a journey retracing the steps of Ettore Majorana, from his birth place to his last known whereabouts. At the same time, he introduces Ettore's ideas and theories, which mostly deal with neutrinos, and can get a bit technical, but for the most part won't be a problem for the avid popular science reader. What makes the book interesting is that the author shows the interrelation between the ideas Ettore was working on, Ettore's psyche and of those around him, and that of the world events taking place. Exactly how a biography should be written, as all these factors went into creating the mysterious person Ettore Majorana. The book also had a particularly strong ending, which I won't ruin for the reader. Again, overall, I can't say the book was overly well written or the best biography I've ever read, but as an avid popular science reader, I also couldn't put it down either & would gladly buy another one of his books.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The biography of two dilemmas 6 septembre 2010
Par Marco Costanzi - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is NOT the biography of Ettore Majorana, but the biography of the two misteries sorrounding the life and work of the famed '30s nuclear Physicist: his sudden disappearance (and the turmoil that surrounded and surrounds it), and the impact of his theories on nuclear Physics past, present and future.
The author is a young scientist and professor of Physics and he must be also a highly spirited young guy. Maybe he scattered his book with comments that, I think, are highly annoying and wrong, but he wrote with passion and expertise. When Majorana disappeared, he left a vacuum in the world (and maybe that's namely what Majorana wanted), relatives, friends, colleagues, students, institutions included, both in his private life and his scientific work, that everybody tried to fill in, sometimes perfunctorily, sometimes compulsively, sometimes with two lines written by a bored Police officer, sometimes with years of obsessive research.
The author explores the theories developed in 70 years to fill the gap: why Majorana disappeared with just some ambiguous letters behind? Did he simply killed himself out of loneliness and isolation, disgusted by a world mindlessly running toward Hiroshima and Nagasaky and by the corrupted Italian Academia? Or did he looked for shelter where nobody could find him, in search of peace of equilibrium? Were his theories just the vagaries of a genius detached from the real world or did he see further than anybody else, the greatest Physiscist of the 20th cen included? The author states simply that the case is still open. A personal note: Majorana had only 5 students, 4 girls and a boy. That boy, turned Professor Sebastiano Sciuti, in 1987, examined me in Nuclear Physics. I'm only 2 years older than the outhor. Majorana is still with us.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
two biographies 2 avril 2010
Par Nicodemus - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
The lives of nuclear physicists aren't the stuff of casual entertainment to most readers. All the more credit to Joao Magueijo for having written a highly entertaining biography that reads more like a novel thanks to his engaging wit. Left wanting more, I sought out The Strangest Man which by contrast is the sort of sober, exhaustive biography one might expect regarding a figure like Paul Dirac about whom so much more is documented than Ettore Majorana whose youthful disappearance left far less to go on and by turn far more to Magueijo's imagination. That the authors of both are themselves nuclear physicists with a talent for demystifying their subjects' technicality lends an air of authority to their attempts to explain what most of us can barely begin to grasp. Nevertheless, I would be challenged to relate much more than the nothing I knew about nuclear physics before I picked up these two books and maybe that's just as well as it maintains my fascination about these two barely fathomable characters and the genius they had in common. Had I read The Strangest Man first I'm not convinced that I would have gravitated to A Brilliant Darkness so my recommendation would be to begin with the latter. Regardless your interest in the subject I think you'll enjoy the author's sense of humor and editorial skill in keeping his narrative fresh and fast paced.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Overall entertaining and informative 21 mai 2012
Par Librum - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
JM has written a generally excellent book about the life and science of Ettore Majorana. I had never heard of Majorana before I read this book, and was fascinated to learn not only about his very important contributions to the study of quantum mechanics, but also about the paradigm shifting (though as yet unresolved) thinking he brought to bear on the nature of anti-particles and the vacuum. What a shame he didn't live (or did he?) to dig deeper into the problems of fundamental physics. Majorana's personal story is an interesting one, and JM tells it well; his intellectual story is a fascinating one, and JM does a very solid of job of conveying its outlines to a lay readership. Less one star on three accounts:

1. JM's 'bad-boy' writing style, peppered with expletives and scatalogical asides, began to grate after a while. JM is a very capable popular science writer. He doesn't need such gimmicks.

2. JM is a bit free-wheeling in his judgements of Majorana's contemporaries (Fermi, Bohr, Segre, etc.). I'm sure there's a lot of truth in his judgements, but the more he piled them on, with increasing literary flair, the more ABD came to feel like a case of special pleading. There's only so much authorial condescension I have patience for.

3. JM can be overly flip at times. For instance, when discussing a patently antisemitic letter that Majorana wrote to Segre, JM remarks that the letter would otherwise be funny had Segre's entire family not been wiped out in the Holocaust. Regardless of Segre's personal tragedy, there was nothing in the least 'funny' about Majorana's letter to Segre or the attitudes on the part of its author it revealed.

These criticisms aside, though, ABD is a very fine book by a very talented writer and scientist. I would definitely look forward to reading other books by JM in future.
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