The Man Who Stalked Einstein: How Nazi Scientist Philipp Lenard Changed the Course of History


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$26.95  $25.06
Lyons Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 0.8 X 9.2 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author

Bruce J. Hillman, MD has distinguished himself as a health services researcher, clinical trialist, and author of both medical articles and short stories published in elite magazines and journals. He is Professor and former Chair of Radiology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He has published over 300 medical articles, book chapters, and editorials, including his 2010 book for the lay public, The Sorcerer's Apprentice - How Medical Imaging is Changing Health Care (Oxford University Press). Dr. Hillman has served as Editor-in-Chief of three medical journals, including his current position with the Journal of the American College of Radiology. He was Deputy Editor of the online literary and humanities journal, Hospital Drive, and has published eight short stories in such journals as The Connecticut Review, Compass Rose, and Aethlon, the Journal of Sports Literature.


In this title, the differences between theoretical and experimental physics are embodied respectively by Einstein and Philipp Lenard, a virulently anti-Semitic German physicist who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1905. Hillman describes how, unable to prove the existence of the long-popular notion of 'ether, ' in debt, and jealous of the attention paid Einstein, Lenard abandoned his early admiration of the younger man and escalated his ad hominem attacks on his fellow Nobel winner for more than 20 years. The book relies in part on original works in German, thanks to Birgit Ertl-Wagner and Bernd C. Wagner's translations for Hillman, adding a new perspective to the study of Einstein. It includes fascinating biographical information on both men. . . .Hillman has succeeded in his goal to 'write a history...that read(s) like a novel, ' opening at the scene of a Nazi book burning. This very accessible popular science book will engage readers interested in physics, World War II, history, and biography.--Library Journal
In 1905 Albert Einstein, then a relatively unknown German theoretical physicist, published the paper that introduced his theory of relativity; that same year Philipp Lenard, an older and well-respected experimental physicist, won the Nobel Prize. Einstein, of course, went on to iconic status, but outside the scientific community, Lenard is pretty much unknown these days. What happened? In simple terms, hatred, paranoia, and bigotry are what happened. This is a portrait of a man of indisputable talents who allowed himself to become obsessed with bringing down another brilliant man, who, Lenard believed, was passing off wild speculation as science. But this was more than professional rivalry; Einstein was Jewish, and Lenard was an anti-Semite who would become one of Hitler's advisors. Was Lenard's campaign part of a larger effort to rid the scientific community of Jews? Evidence suggests so, though this account also suggests that Lenard seemed honestly to believe in a conspiracy to deprive him of credit for discoveries made by other scientists. A deeply fascinating, deeply sad book that will be appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of modern science.--Booklist