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Great Physicists – The Life and Times of Leading Physicists from Galileo to Hawking: A non-fiction by William H. Cropper

The word of science and discovery might be boring for some, especially when both delivered by the wrong teacher and biographer. But, this book will erode such feeling and emotion. William H. Cropper is far from mediocre biographer on scientists, and he proofs it in his Great Physicists: The Life and Times of Leading Physicists from Galileo to Hawking.
As the title suggests, the book contains biographical records of some notable physicists. The full title is Great Physicists: The Life and Times of Leading Physicists from Galileo to Hawking. At first, the book looks like a compilation of biographies of physicists of different fields such as astronomy, astrophysics, quantum physics, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, etc. However, if a reader is willing to look deeper, he or she will find something different.

Common biography on scientist usually tells the story in chronological order: birth, childhood, teenage years, academic life, life at laboratory, and finally the death of the scientist. More experienced biographer will add some dramas to make the story more human. However, William H. Cropper is much more better.

In Great Physicists: The Life and Times of Leading Physicists from Galileo to Hawking readers will not only enjoy the life of Max Planck as physicist, but also encounter his feeling when his house bombed due to WW II and the death of his sons for Hitler. At the end of the story, Cropper provides mathematical and physical derivation of Max Planck’s black bodies.
The same also happens to other physicists whose life captured by Willian H. Cropper such as Rudolf Clausius, Isaac Newton, Julius Robert von Meyer, Ludwig Boltzmann, Enrico Fermi, Paul Diract, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Marie Curie, Murray Gell-Man, Richard Feynman, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, James Clerk Maxwell, etc. Such mathematical derivation is useful, especially for students, to spark greater interest in the topic. Coupled with dramas encapsulated in the life of the physicists, the scientific explanations have made the book recommended to read for all ages.

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