AUTHORGreenspan, Nancy Thorndike
TITLEThe End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born: The Nobel Physicist Who Ignited the Quantum Revolution
CITYNew York, NY

This biography portrays Max Born, the Nobel Prize winning German physicist who first articulated the theory of quantum mechanics. It follows his personal life and scientific career from childhood to death, focusing not only on his immense contributions to science but also on his interactions with key people and events of the first half of the twentieth century, including the two World Wars and the rise of Nazism and anti-Semitism in German universities. The author, Nancy Greenspan, highlights Born’s ever-present uncertainty, seen for example in his vacillation between mathematics and physics while a university student. The book is very personal: Greenspan reveals many of Born's characteristics and emotions, especially his openness as a professor, his anger at Nazism, and his stress as a hardworking perfectionist. Born’s relationships with his family members—his father, his children, and particularly his wife, Hedi—constituted an important part of his life, and Greenspan eloquently and objectively describes the high and low points of those relationships. Included is a section of black-and-white photographs of Born with friends, family, and colleagues. The biography is based partly on copious family documents stored at the University of Edinburgh.

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