We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom | [Graham Farmelo]

The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom

Paul Dirac was among the great scientific geniuses of the modern age. One of the discoverers of quantum mechanics, the most revolutionary theory of the past century, his contributions had a unique insight, eloquence, clarity, and mathematical power. His prediction of antimatter was one of the greatest triumphs in the history of physics.
Regular Price:$24.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Paul Dirac was among the great scientific geniuses of the modern age. One of the discoverers of quantum mechanics, the most revolutionary theory of the past century, his contributions had a unique insight, eloquence, clarity, and mathematical power. His prediction of antimatter was one of the greatest triumphs in the history of physics.

One of Einstein's most admired colleagues, Dirac was in 1933 the youngest theoretician ever to win the Nobel Prize in physics. Dirac's personality is legendary. He was an extraordinarily reserved loner, relentlessly literal-minded, and appeared to have no empathy with most people. Yet he was a family man and was intensely loyal to his friends. His tastes in the arts ranged from Beethoven to Cher, from Rembrandt to Mickey Mouse.

Based on previously undiscovered archives, The Strangest Man reveals the many facets of Dirac's brilliantly original mind. A compelling human story, The Strangest Man also depicts a spectacularly exciting era in scientific history.

©2009 Graham Farmelo; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • 2009 Costa Book Award (Biography)
  • 100 Notable Books of 2009 (New York Times)
  • Books of the Year 2009 (The Economist)
  • Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Science & Technology, 2010

"Farmelo proves himself a wizard at explaining the arcane aspects of particle physics. His great affection for his odd but brilliant subject shows on every page, giving Dirac the biography any great scientist deserves." (Publishers Weekly)

"A must-read for anyone interested in the extraordinary power of pure thought. With this revelatory, moving and definitive biography, Graham Farmelo provides the first real glimpse inside the bizarre mind of Paul Dirac." (Roger Highfield, Editor, New Scientist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (288 )
5 star
 (114)
4 star
 (92)
3 star
 (59)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (8)
Overall
4.1 (159 )
5 star
 (72)
4 star
 (46)
3 star
 (28)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (7)
Story
4.0 (153 )
5 star
 (61)
4 star
 (57)
3 star
 (23)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Eileen West Sacramento, CA, United States 05-09-13
    Eileen West Sacramento, CA, United States 05-09-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent biography of great physicist"

    I am listening to The Strangest Man The Hidden Life of Paul Direc and enjoying it very much BUT the reader makes a critical error at 6:25 into the first part. He adds "not" to a sentence describing Dirac's most important equation, the work for which he received the Nobel prize. One of the outstanding features is that the equation predicts the electron's spin. But the reader says "these properties could NOT have been predicted using the special theory of relativity and quantum mechanics." I check the book and the NOT is not in the text. Audible needs to correct this error as the mispeaking misrepresents both science and Dirac's most impressive work.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Annapolis, MD, USA 01-17-10
    Mark Annapolis, MD, USA 01-17-10 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    67
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent, well written and narrated biography"

    Fantastic book. It is in a class with Nasar's A Beautiful Mind and Isaacson's Einstein: His Life and Universe. I only wish it when a bit deeper in the math and physics, similar to Derbyshire's Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics. Very listenable narrator. I enjoyed his impersonation of Dirac.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 03-01-14
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 03-01-14 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3558
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    702
    665
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    608
    12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Paul Dirac won 1933 Nobel Prize in physics"

    This is one of the best books in terms of detail and insight into the brilliant character of Paul Dirac 1902-1984. Graham Farmelo, a British Physicist, has obviously done in-depth research, and I understand he had access to many of Dirac’s personal papers. The book won the 2009 Costa book award. The book is less a scientific biography than other books on Dirac, it emphasizes more the development of Dirac’s personality and the story of his relationship with his relations and colleagues. I learned a lot about Dirac, including his work on the atomic bomb during World War II. Dirac is responsible for several of the great breakthrough in 20th century physics and mathematics. He found the fundamental insight into quantum mechanics and remains the basic understanding even today. His textbook on Quantum Mechanics remains a rigorously clear explanation of the fundamental idea of quantum theory. He also developed the Dirac equation which is the basis of particle physics. He is known for developing quantum field theory, quantum electrodynamics and the understanding the role of magnetic monopoles in electromagnetism. Dirac was the youngest theoretician to receive the Nobel Prize in Physics (1933). He also won the Max Planck Medal and the Copley Medal. He was the Lucasian Professor of mathematics at Cambridge University. The chair is now held by Stephen Hawking. Dirac’s work was so advanced we are only just beginning to prove and use his work. B. J. Harrison did an excellent job narrating this long book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 02-01-10
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 02-01-10 Member Since 2002

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3154
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1385
    395
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    955
    9
    Overall
    "As good as a Dirac biography could be :-)"

    Well written and particularly well read. Enjoyable and interesting if you like the history of physics. If the history of physics is not already your thing, you may not find this an exciting volume. I really enjoyed it but would not likely listen again.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara South Riding, VA, United States 11-27-10
    Barbara South Riding, VA, United States 11-27-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Who'd have thought I'd care about quantum physics?"

    I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. It was a little long, but in general, I enjoyed it a lot and learned about quantum physics--a subject I previously had no interest in.

    I had no idea that Dirac was at Tallahassee and we've both enjoyed boating on the Wakulla River.

    The narrator was good in some ways, but his "voice" of Dirac was too effeminate and odd. While Dirac was "strange," I didn't get the notion that would have been his voice.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Collin Bartlett, TN, United States 07-28-10
    Collin Bartlett, TN, United States 07-28-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Like a Novel"

    I felt like I was reading an adventure novel rather than a biography. The book is well written and flows nicely, packed with good physics, and fun characterization.
    The naration was great too.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas State College, PA, USA 07-23-10
    Thomas State College, PA, USA 07-23-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Great work about great man"

    An unusual biography I found hard to put down. Especially enjoyed accounts of the interactions between the main characters in the quantum game. I've recommended the work to quite a few people and will continue to do so.

    Thought the reader was quite good, but he ought to have sought help with the pronunciation of the names of certain persons and places. One of his worst was Caius College at Cambridge.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steaven Murrieta, CA, United States 07-20-10
    Steaven Murrieta, CA, United States 07-20-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    83
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Strangely awesome!"

    At first, I didn't think I would enjoy listening to the biography of a physicist, the subject alone seems daunting. But the author did a great job describing science in the simplest form that even a 5th grader could understand. I learned a lot from this book and highly recommend it to everyone.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 01-16-10
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 01-16-10 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1219
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    388
    276
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    218
    32
    Overall
    "Very interesting portrait..."

    of a lesser-written-about genius of quantum mechanics theory. Like Einstein, Goedel, Oppenheimer, Feynmann and others, Durac was an oddity, which often led to aggrivation, misunderstanding and inadvertantly humorous situations when he tried--mostly unsuccessfully to deal with other humans. If you are interested in physics or just want to add another name to your "famous people with Asperger's" list, this book is entertaining and enlightening.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Pacific Palisades, CA, USA 06-12-10
    John Pacific Palisades, CA, USA 06-12-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Good book, agree with others regarding narration"

    I agree with several other reviews - enjoyed this listen since the material was strong enough, held my interest, despite the poor narration. Someone, please instruct the narrator regarding pronunciation of the word "experiment". Since listening, the word "expirimint" is still ringing in my ears.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 24 results PREVIOUS123NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.