The Recollections of Eugene P. Wigner
Eugene P. Wigner, indisputedly one of the world's greatest physicists of the twentieth century, recounts the breathtaking story of his singular life. Dr. Wigner's wining of the Nobel Prize crowned a lifetime of achievements in physics - achievements that profoundly affect our understanding of science today. His enormous contributions to the Manhattan Project and his insights into quantum physics stand as hallmarks of his incomparable talent. But equally important are his musings on his long and uniquely fascinating life. This memoir, a fruitful collaboration between Eugene Wigner and writer Andrew Szanton, reveals a story by turns endearing, painful, and ultimately triumphant. A witness to many of the changes of the twentieth century, Wigner grew up amid the political turmoil of Hungary. He later experienced the Berlin of the early 1930s as Hitler rose to power. During World War II, he took an active role in the Manhattan Project, the building of the world's first atomic bomb. In his recollections, he conveys the exultation of observing the first successfully controlled nuclear chain reaction. Eugene Wigner's friends and acquaintances comprise a Who's Who of twentieth-century scientists, and the book is replete with their vivid, candid, and amusing portrayals. Having enjoyed many years working with Albert Einstein, he paints an engaging portrait of that most famous of geniuses. He also sketches distinctive pictures of the trio of his fellow Hungarians: Leo Szilard, one of the first men to dream seriously about the atom bomb; Johnny von Neumann, perhaps the greatest mathematician of the century; and Edward Teller, the prime architect of the hydrogen bomb. This is the first major bookever written about Eugene P. Wigner. It makes a significant contribution to the history of the Manhattan Project and to the history of nuclear physics. But in a much larger sense, physics is only its backdrop. The real story is that of an extraordinary man and his unforgettable life.
What people are saying - Write a review
THE RECOLLECTIONS OF EUGENE P. WIGNERUser Review - Kirkus
A veteran of the Smithsonian's oral-history program on the Manhattan Project, Szanton brings an educated focus and a writer's sensitivity to these expertly shaped memoirs, based on over 30 interviews ... Read full review