The definitive biography of the brilliant, charismatic, and very human physicist and innovator Enrico Fermi
In 1942, a team at the University of Chicago achieved what no one had before: a nuclear chain reaction. At the forefront of this breakthrough stood Enrico Fermi. Straddling the ages of classical physics and quantum mechanics, equally at ease with theory and experiment, Fermi truly was the last man who knew everything - at least about physics. But he was also a complex figure who was a part of both the Italian Fascist Party and the Manhattan Project, and a less-than-ideal father and husband who nevertheless remained one of history's greatest mentors.
Based on new archival material and exclusive interviews, The Last Man Who Knew Everything lays bare the enigmatic life of a colossus of 20th-century physics.
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"A lucid writer who has done his homework, Schwartz...delivers a thoroughly enjoyable, impressively researched account.... Never a media darling like Einstein or Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi (1901-1954) is now barely known to the public, but few scientists would deny that he was among the most brilliant physicists of his century.... A rewarding, expert biography of a giant of the golden age of physics." (Kirkus)
"Told in a sure, steady voice, Schwartz's book delivers a scrupulously researched and lovingly crafted portrait of the 'greatest Italian scientist since Galileo.'" (Publishers Weekly)
"One of the finest biographies of the year, The Last Man Who Knew Everything combines the historic, the scientific and the personal in a deft and effortless way. Enrico Fermi was easily one of the most fascinating human beings of the 20th century, a man whose intellectual brilliance was trapped inside an all-too-human shell. The result, in David Schwartz's able interpretation, is nothing short of spellbinding." (Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Super Sad True Love Story)
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