AUTHORHargittai, István
TITLEMartians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century
PUBLISHEROxford University Press
CITYNew York, NY

This work chronicles the parallel lives of five Hungarian scientists who contributed to the U.S. Manhattan Project, post-World War II weapons programs, and other areas of science and technology. Physicists Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, and Edward Teller, mathematician John von Neumann, and engineer Theodore von Kármán (all five are referred to as physicists in the book’s subtitle) received their early education in Hungary and completed advanced study in Germany before coming to the U.S. The author, a Jewish Hungarian, takes the unique approach of presenting the journeys of these brilliant men in a single volume wherein he contrasts their differences and similarities, detailing their interactions, scientific contributions, and diverse political views. According to an anecdote from the time of the Manhatten Project, the group of men became known as “martians” when someone involved in the project suggested that they came from Mars but spoke Hungarian to disguise themselves. The author’s personal associations with Wigner and Teller add depth to this well-researched work.

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