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Bohr v. Einstein

John Barrow, 20 August 1992

Niels Bohr’s Times, in Physics, Philosophy and Polity 
by Abraham Pais.
Oxford, 656 pp., £25, October 1991, 0 19 852049 2
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... is at once the story of physics in the first half of the 20th century and the story of Niels Bohr. Abraham Pais is a physicist who has made fundamental contributions to the quantum picture of reality. But during the last 14 years he has shown himself to be a historian of science who combines deep scientific insight with meticulous scholarship. He is ...

What exactly did he discover?

John Ziman, 3 May 1984

‘Subtle is the Lord’: The Science and Life of Albert Einstein 
by Abraham Pais.
Oxford, 552 pp., £15, October 1982, 9780198539070
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The Cosmic Code: Quantum Physics as the Language of Nature 
by Heinz Pagels.
Joseph, 370 pp., £10.95, March 1983, 0 7181 2217 8
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Philosophy and the New Physics 
by Jonathan Powers.
Methuen, 203 pp., £3.95, December 1982, 0 416 73480 4
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Albert Einstein: The Centennial Symposium in Jerusalem 
edited by Gerald Holton and Yehuda Elkana.
Princeton, 439 pp., £24.70, August 1982, 0 06 908299 5
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... Einstein can be represented as playing several different roles, in several quite different dramas. Abraham Pais is a distinguished theoretical physicist who knew Einstein well in his later years at Princeton. The personal and political aspects of his life are dealt with at length in a sympathetic spirit, but this is an intellectual biography, and will ...

Magnetic Moments

Brian Pippard, 4 September 1986

Inward Bound: Of Matter and Forces in the Physical World 
by Abraham Pais.
Oxford, 666 pp., £20, May 1986, 0 19 851971 0
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... It is only four years since we were treated to Abraham Pais’s authoritative study of Einstein, Subtle is the Lord, and now he presents an equally large and quite as impressive history of fundamental particle physics, in a style and at a price which calls for the warmest congratulations to him and to the Clarendon Press ...

Twins in Space

Mark Harris, 11 December 1997

Albert Einstein 
by Albrecht Fölsing, translated by Ewald Osers.
Viking, 882 pp., £25, August 1997, 0 670 85545 6
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Einstein: A Life 
by Denis Brian.
Wiley, 509 pp., £11.99, October 1997, 0 471 19362 3
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... quantum mechanics. So why does Einstein receive all the attention? In his Einstein Lived Here Abraham Pais explored his extraordinarily wide appeal and reached the conclusion that it comes largely from the media’s fascination with relativity: ‘The drama of Einstein’s emergence was enhanced by the exhaustion and chaos following the ...

What do clocks have to do with it?

John Banville: Einstein and Bergson, 13 July 2016

The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time 
by Jimena Canales.
Princeton, 429 pp., £24.95, May 2015, 978 0 691 16534 9
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... office in Princeton. It is popularly imagined that Einstein completely overthrew Newton, but as Abraham Pais points out in Subtle Is the Lord, his biography of Einstein, the effect of relativity was to turn Newtonian mechanics into an ‘approximate’ science, ‘not diminished but better defined in the process’.* It could be argued, indeed, that ...

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