The Strangest Man

  • by Graham Farmelo
  • Narrated by B. J. Harrison
  • 19 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Paul Dirac was among the great scientific geniuses of the modern age. One of the discoverers of quantum mechanics, the most revolutionary theory of the past century, his contributions had a unique insight, eloquence, clarity, and mathematical power. His prediction of antimatter was one of the greatest triumphs in the history of physics.
One of Einstein's most admired colleagues, Dirac was in 1933 the youngest theoretician ever to win the Nobel Prize in physics. Dirac's personality is legendary. He was an extraordinarily reserved loner, relentlessly literal-minded, and appeared to have no empathy with most people. Yet he was a family man and was intensely loyal to his friends. His tastes in the arts ranged from Beethoven to Cher, from Rembrandt to Mickey Mouse.
Based on previously undiscovered archives, The Strangest Man reveals the many facets of Dirac's brilliantly original mind. A compelling human story, The Strangest Man also depicts a spectacularly exciting era in scientific history.


What the Critics Say

2009 Costa Book Award (Biography)
100 Notable Books of 2009 (New York Times)
Books of the Year 2009 (The Economist)
Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Science & Technology, 2010

"Farmelo proves himself a wizard at explaining the arcane aspects of particle physics. His great affection for his odd but brilliant subject shows on every page, giving Dirac the biography any great scientist deserves." (Publishers Weekly)
"A must-read for anyone interested in the extraordinary power of pure thought. With this revelatory, moving and definitive biography, Graham Farmelo provides the first real glimpse inside the bizarre mind of Paul Dirac." (Roger Highfield, Editor, New Scientist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent, well written and narrated biography

Fantastic book. It is in a class with Nasar's A Beautiful Mind and Isaacson's Einstein: His Life and Universe. I only wish it when a bit deeper in the math and physics, similar to Derbyshire's Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics. Very listenable narrator. I enjoyed his impersonation of Dirac.
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- Mark

Excellent biography of great physicist

I am listening to The Strangest Man The Hidden Life of Paul Direc and enjoying it very much BUT the reader makes a critical error at 6:25 into the first part. He adds "not" to a sentence describing Dirac's most important equation, the work for which he received the Nobel prize. One of the outstanding features is that the equation predicts the electron's spin. But the reader says "these properties could NOT have been predicted using the special theory of relativity and quantum mechanics." I check the book and the NOT is not in the text. Audible needs to correct this error as the mispeaking misrepresents both science and Dirac's most impressive work.
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- Eileen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-01-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios