Passionate Minds: The Inner World of Scientists

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OUP Oxford, Sep 25, 1997 - Science - 240 pages
The popular stereotype of the scientist as mad boffin or weedy nerd has been peddled widely in film and fiction, with the implication that the world of science is far removed from the intellectual and emotional messiness of other human activities. In Passionate Minds, distinguished scientist Lewis Wolpert investigates the style and motivation of some of the most eminent scientists in the world. In this stimulating collection of conversations, scientists in fields as diverse as particle physics and evolutionary biology explore how their backgrounds have shaped their careers and discoveries - how being an outsider or an "innocent" can play an invaluable role in overcoming conventional barriers to new understanding. Being a little crazy does seem to help. As Nobel laureate for physics Sheldon Glashow says, "If you would simply take all the kookiest ideas of the early 1970s and put them together you would have made for yourself the theory which is, in fact, the correct theory of nature, so it was like madness..." These personal explorations with individual scientists are not only accessible and truly fascinating in their insights into the minds of some of the greatest men and women of science, but they also provide a strong case that the life and works of our leading scientists are at least as illuminating and interesting as the personalities of the latest literary prizewinners. A sequel to A Passion for Science, this book will delight and intrigue scientists and non-scientists alike.

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Passionate minds: the inner world of scientists

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Physicist and historian, theoretical chemist and poet, physiologist and evolutionary biologist, immunologist and neurobiologist, chemist and novelist--one of the most interesting aspects of this ... Read full review

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About the author (1997)


Lewis Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine at University College, London.

Alison Richards is a producer of science programs for BBC Radio. They both live in London.

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