Books et al.Science Lives

Enrico Fermi, flaws and all

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Science  19 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6373, pp. 282
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar2948

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Summary

With the title The Last Man Who Knew Everything and a first chapter entitled “Prodigy,” a reader could be forgiven for ex­pecting David Schwartz’s new biography of Enrico Fermi to be a straightforward hagiography. Luckily, Schwartz’s ambitions are not as simple as providing yet another account of a great man of 20th-century physics. He has other, thornier questions in mind, some of which he credibly addresses and others that he handles less convincingly.