Metascience 24 (1):111-117 (2015)

Silvan Sam Schweber
Harvard University
Michael Eckert has written a remarkable biography of Arnold Sommerfeld , the “off-scale” theoretical physicist who made his Seminar at the University of Munich the outstanding school of theoretical physics of the first third of the twentieth century. Sommerfeld was the teacher and mentor of a large number of exceptional theoretical physicists who studied with him either as doctoral or post-doctoral studentsSee the Wikipedia entry for Arnold Sommerfeld for a complete listing of all his students by category.; and among these, Peter Debye, Max von Laue, Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, Linus Pauling and Hans Bethe became Nobel laureates.In his prologue, Eckert noted that a scientific biography should serve not only as a vehicle to describe and explain scientific processes in a social and cultural context, but must also present “the ambitions, passions, and moral choices of a life in science”. Eckert was able to meet these demands by drawing on Sommerfeld’s personal and ..
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DOI 10.1007/s11016-014-9935-2
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