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Mental Arithmetic

Nicholas Wade

7 January 1993
Genius: Richard Feynman and Modern Physics 
by James Gleick.
Little, Brown, 532 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 316 90316 7
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... presence on the committee inquiring into the crash of the Challenger space shuttle forced the cause of the disaster into the open. Genius is the attempt by a skilled and elegant science writer, JamesGleick, to present the facts of Feynman’s life and achievements. Unfortunately, the latter are quite elusive, which is surprising given the mystique that has long surrounded Feynman. His fellow ...

A Kind of Gnawing Offness

David Haglund: Tao Lin

21 October 2010
Richard Yates 
by Tao Lin.
Melville House, 206 pp., £10.99, October 2010, 978 1 935554 15 8
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... Their entire experience is explicitly determined by chance. Sam seems happiest when he goes to Atlantic City and plays blackjack and walks around a casino. At one point he mentions ‘Chaos by James something’. ‘Yes, chaos theory’, his friend Brandon replies, ‘JamesGleick.’ The conversation ends there, abruptly, as most in the book do. Gleick, of course, popularised the ‘butterfly ...


Peter Campbell

4 August 1988
Who got Einstein’s office? Eccentricity and Genius at the Institute for Advanced Study 
by Ed Regis.
Simon and Schuster, 316 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 671 69923 7
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by James Gleick.
Heinemann, 354 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 9780434295548
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The School of Genius 
by Anthony Storr.
Deutsch, 216 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 233 98010 5
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... It is also right where the Institute’s founders would want its work to be done – on the far theoretical edge of human thought. Regis can even explain the quality of an excitement like this. JamesGleick’s Chaos tells an exhilarating tale. It starts a quarter of a century ago with work on weather forecasting by Edward Lorenz and finishes with an account of the penetration of ‘chaos ...


Ed Regis

26 May 1994
The Beat of a Different Drum: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman 
by Jagdish Mehra.
Oxford, 630 pp., £25, March 1994, 0 19 853948 7
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... being overshadowed by Feynman’s own books, including his classic three volume Lectures on Physics. The story of his life and science, apparently an ideal subject, is a potential nightmare. JamesGleick’s Genius, published in 1992, was faulted by some of Feynman’s friends for not capturing the playful side of Feynman’s personality; others complained that the book’s avoidance of mathematics ...

Milk and Lemon

Steven Shapin: The Excesses of Richard Feynman

7 July 2005
Don’t You Have Time to Think? The Letters of Richard Feynman 
edited by Michelle Feynman.
Allen Lane, 486 pp., £20, June 2005, 0 7139 9847 4
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... diagram T-shirts at nerd supply shops everywhere. The diagrams are cult objects and so too, 17 years after his death, is their originator. There are now six biographies, of which the best remains JamesGleick’s inevitably-entitled Genius (1992). Feynman’s Caltech Lectures on Physics and collections of miscellaneous anecdotes and essays remain in print and in demand, as do audiotapes and videos ...

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