His entry begins:
I’m reading two books, one quickly and one very slowly. The faster book is The Voice of Dolphins and Other Stories, a mostly forgotten collection by the late physicist Leó Szilárd. A friend loaned this book to me after seeing my biography of Max Planck. Szilárd was one of the physicists who set up the first nuclear reactor and, fleeing Nazi Germany, contributed to America’s Manhattan Project during WWII. He advocated using the bomb in demonstration only and was horrified to see it dropped on cities. He wrote the Dolphins pieces of fiction circa 1960, and the main story casts a forward-looking history to 1985. He accurately foresees the cold war, many specific issues in the Middle East, and the formation of...[read on]About Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War, from the publisher:
Max Planck is credited with being the father of quantum theory, and his work was described by his close friend Albert Einstein as "the basis of all twentieth-century physics." But Planck's story is not well known, especially in the United States. A German physicist working during the first half of the twentieth century, his library, personal journals, notebooks, and letters were all destroyed with his home in World War II. What remains, other than his contributions to science, are handwritten letters in German shorthand, and tributes from other scientists of the time.Visit Brandon Brown's website.
In Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War, Brandon R. Brown interweaves the voices and writings of Planck, his family, and his contemporaries--with many passages appearing in English for the first time--to create a portrait of a groundbreaking physicist working in the midst of war. Planck spent much of his adult life grappling with the identity crisis of being an influential German with ideas that ran counter to his government. During the later part of his life, he survived bombings and battlefields, surgeries and blood transfusions, all the while performing his influential work amidst a violent and crumbling Nazi bureaucracy. When his son was accused of treason, Planck tried to use his standing as a German "national treasure," and wrote directly to Hitler to spare his son's life. Brown tells the story of Planck's friendship with the far more outspoken Albert Einstein, and shows how his work fits within the explosion of technology and science that occurred during his life.
This story of a brilliant man living in a dangerous time gives Max Planck his rightful place in the history of science, and it shows how war-torn Germany deeply impacted his life and work.
My Book, The Movie: Planck.
Writers Read: Brandon R. Brown.