Copenhagen and books scientists read
Posted by effervescentlibrarian on February 16, 2010
I have been watching the 2002 film Copenhagen, based on the 1998 play by Michael Frayn. Because, I am also currently reading the very indepth book, The Strangest Man, by Graham Farmelo, I find my mind putting these two things together. The book is amazing. It is a bit hard reading at times, but really is so rich. From the very beginning of Paul Dirac’s life, there are records of what he read, and when. We know that after being inspired by a series of lectures, that he “found a copy of Eddington’s book Space, Time and Gravitation, and he taught himself the special and general theories.” Likewise, after thinking he had come across a Poisson bracket, he waited till the next day to get into the library, and read A Treatise on the Analytical Dynamics of Particles and Rigid Bodies by Edmund Whittaker.
It is, of course, fascinating, to see where our ideas come from–who has inspired whom. Even more so, for these champions of physics.
There is often an argument about which is better–the movie or the book? In this instance, I would highly recommend watching Copenhagen to get the atmosphere of the times, and read The Strangest Man to delve deeply into the mind of a scientist.