J. D. Bernal: The Sage of Science

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J. D. Bernal, known as 'Sage', was an extraordinary man and multifaceted character. A scientist of dazzling intellectual ability and a leading figure in the development of X-ray crystallography, he was a polymath, a fervent Marxist, and much admired worldwide. Although he himself never won a Nobel Prize, several of his distinguished students went on to do so, including Dorothy Hodgkin, Max Perutz, and Aaron Klug. Andrew Brown has had unprecedented access to Bernal's papers and diaries, and this biography includes previously unpublished material on Bernal's role during the Second World War. Bernal not only changed the course of science, but was witness to (and often a participant in) historical events (the Easter Rebellion, the Great Strike, the anti-fascist movement and pacifist causes, civil defence, RAF bombing strategy, the planning for D-Day, post-war rebuilding, and nuclear weapons). One of the few men familiar with Downing Street, the White House and the Kremlin, he left fascinating accounts of Churchill, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Louis Mountbatten and Picasso, as well as the century's greatest scientists. Brown's compelling account covers all aspects of Bernal's brilliant, colourful, and Bohemian life, and introduces this towering figure of early 20th century science to a wide audience.
 

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Contents

1 A Long Way to Go
1
2 Cambridge Undergraduate
22
3 Bohemian Crystallographer
46
4 Science Fantasy
65
5 The New Kingdom
78
6 Soviet Pilgrims
103
7 The Shadow of the Hawks Wings
119
8 The Entertainment of the Scientist
137
14 Rebuilding
274
15 Central Dogma
298
16 Peace at Any Price?
318
17 The Physical Basis of Life
342
18 History and the Origins of Life
363
19 Marxist Envoy
383
20 Peacebroking
412
21 Order and Disorder
435

9 Scientist at War
165
10 Bombing Strategy
185
11 Combined Operations
205
12 Overlord
228
13 Lessons of War
255
22 Years of Struggle
452
Postscript
474
Notes
490
Index
539
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About the author (2005)


Andrew Brown is a medical doctor and radiologist turned scientific biographer. His biography of Sir James Chadwick, discoverer of the neutron, 'The Neutron and the Bomb', was published by Oxford University Press in 1997. He has also published a number of scientific papers and articles.

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