Front cover image for The last man who knew everything : the life and times of Enrico Fermi, father of the nuclear age

The last man who knew everything : the life and times of Enrico Fermi, father of the nuclear age

David N. Schwartz (Author)
"In December 1942, a team at the University of Chicago achieved a milestone in human history: a nuclear chain reaction. At the forefront of this breakthrough stood Enrico Fermi, the father of the nuclear age. But as David N. Schwartz shows in this groundbreaking biography, Fermi's impact goes well beyond this epochal event. With his theory of beta decay and his development of quantum statistics, Fermi revolutionized modern physics. Straddling the classical and quantum ages, equally at ease with elegant mathematics and grubby experiments, Fermi truly was the last man who knew everything--at least about physics. In [this book], Schwartz draws from newly discovered archival material and exclusive interviews with those who knew Fermi to reveal the complex figure behind these historic contributions. A reluctant member of the Italian Fascist party, Fermi escaped to New York when Mussolini promulgated a series of anti-Semitic laws that put his wife, Laura, at risk. A citizen of an Axis power at the heart of the US government's most secret war effort, the Manhattan Project, he became one of its leading lights. A less-than-ideal father and husband, he was nevertheless one of history's greatest scientific mentors and teachers. He was also a deep thinker, as perspicacious about extraterrestrial life as he was about quantum field theory. The Last Man Who Knew Everything brings Fermi's brilliant, complex genius to life in a profound and consuming read."--Dust jacket flap
Print Book, English, 2017
First edition View all formats and editions
Basic Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc., New York, NY, 2017