MixedThe Wall Street JournalMr. England aims to show how life could have arisen spontaneously through natural processes in a God-given universe. In order to do that, he needs a clear definition of what counts as life ... The spiritual dimension also falls by the wayside, though thankfully he takes this up at the end of what is frankly a difficult, though potentially very important, book ... Every Life Is on Fire comes to us from the forefront of scientific inquiry; a novel species whose fate remains to be determined.
Sean B. Carroll
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal... entertaining ... breezy, anecdotal, informative and amusing ... exquisitely adapted to a familiar niche in the popular science ecosystem.
MixedThe Wall Street JournalTaking a traditional view of intellectual history, Mr. Strathern considers the 17th century as the era when the \'new science\' of chemistry could at last “shed its oriental esoteric past ... Mendeleyev’s Dream is chronological, rather slow and, apart from an occasional quip, pretty sober ... Strathern’s book is...historically comprehensive[.]
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalIf you find it hard to think about half-silvered mirrors, then be warned that there are a great many of them in this book. Suitably arranged, they can be used to create a variety of photon mazes rich in theory-testing possibilities. Mr. Ananthaswamy helpfully supplies schematic diagrams, though the actual mirrors are unlike the ordinary kind ... Mr. Ananthaswamy interviewed many leading theoreticians and experimentalists in the course of writing this book, and he covers a large and complex field in an admirably accessible way. Historical or biographical details are mostly subordinated to scientific and philosophical issues, though we glimpse a few colorful characters.
RaveWall Street JournalThe three rebels make intriguing heroes in Mr. Becker’s informative and enjoyable book. Their stories illustrate how personality, prestige and prejudice can play a role in elevating or marginalizing ideas in physics, as in any other branch of academic life. Mr. Becker takes a frankly partisan view, and while he acknowledges technical problems on all sides of the debate, his reasonable desire for a coherent narrative somewhat elevates the claims of the dissidents against the mighty Bohr. At times Copenhagen almost seems like the heart of an evil empire ... History is written by the victors, and journalism is the first draft of history. Since the quantum contest is still being fought, we should perhaps consider What Is Real? to be journalism rather than history. That is in no way meant pejoratively: Adam Becker has written an excellent, accessible account of an intricate story. Whether he has chosen to wear the right uniform will be for future readers to judge.
Gino Segre and Bettina Hoerlin
RaveThe Wall Street Journal...[a] superb biography ... Given the authors’ personal connections, their scientific expertise, and the wealth of research they have undertaken, it is clear that they have produced a definitive study of Fermi’s life and work.