Zwicky: The Outcast Genius Who Unmasked the Universe

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Product Details

Harvard University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.3 X 1.3 inches | 0.02 pounds

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About the Author

John Johnson Jr. spent twenty-two years at the Los Angeles Times, where he was a member of two teams that were awarded Pulitzer Prizes. He was responsible for covering space and physics for the newspaper and contributed to its reputation as a preeminent source of science reporting. He has written three science books for children and shared an IRE Medal from Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc.


[An] engaging biography...Reveals a life that is far deeper and more nuanced than the caricature...A sympathetic reassessment of his overall legacy.--Wall Street Journal (09/13/2019)
[A] spirited biography...Johnson's book is rich enough to inspire interesting meditations on research, idiosyncrasy--and reputation.--Nature (09/03/2019)
Interesting to read and provides an insight into a rich, complicated character and his engagement with the world he was part of.--Chris North"BBC Sky at Night" (11/01/2019)
A well-rounded biography of the brilliant, contrarian scientist...Stands as an evenhanded examination of a pugnacious and imaginative genius, and it should spark new interest in Zwicky.--Publishers Weekly (07/09/2019)
[An] excellent biography of Zwicky.--Jeff Foust"Space Review" (09/30/2019)
This is a fitting biography of one of the most brilliant, acerbic, and under-appreciated astrophysicists of the twentieth century. John Johnson has delved deeply into a rich and eventful life, and produced a rollicking account of how Fritz Zwicky split his time between picking fights with his colleagues and discovering amazing things about our universe.--Sean Carroll, author of The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
Zwicky is everything a good science history book should be. With an eccentric and brilliant scientist at its heart, this book illuminates the very human nature at the center of all the best scientific discoveries.--Deborah Blum, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
This book is absolutely marvelous--I really could not put it down.--James Gunn, Princeton University
Of all the science biographies that came out in 2019, this one, about the legendary scientist Fritz Zwicky, was far and away my favorite...[A] gem of a book...If you enjoy biographies of scientists, particularly underappreciated ones, you'll want to pick this one up for sure.--Ethan Siegel"Forbes" (11/29/2019)
A detailed and insightful biography. The story certainly captures both the way in which Zwicky liked to see himself and the way in which some leading physicists responded to him. Others, however, took offense and did their best to ignore the astronomer, both during his lifetime and afterwards--one of the reasons why he is largely forgotten today.-- (12/01/2019)
A lively new biography...Johnson has written a book that explains the astronomical facts simply and clearly without using technical jargon. But the emphasis is on the human characters, not on the science.-- (01/16/2020)
Well researched...An enjoyable read.--Helge Kragh"Physics Today" (02/01/2020)