While recognizing that quantum mechanics "demands serious attention," Albert Einstein in 1926 admonished fellow physicist Max Born that the theory "does not bring us closer to the secrets of the Old One." Aware that "there are deep mysteries that Nature intends to keep for herself," Freeman Dyson, the 94-year-old theoretical physicist, has nonetheless chronicled the stories of those who were engaged in solving some of the most challenging quandaries of twentieth-century physics. Written between 1940 and the early 1980s, these letters to relatives form an historic account of modern science and its greatest players, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, and Hans Bethe. Whether reflecting on the horrors of World War II, the moral dilemmas of nuclear development, the challenges of the space program, or the considerable demands of raising six children, Dyson offers a firsthand account of one of the greatest periods of scientific discovery of our modern age.
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