MY WORLD LINE: An Informal Autobiography by George Gamow

MY WORLD LINE: An Informal Autobiography

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Anything that happens anywhere at any time may be considered a point of relativistic space-time; the sequence of such points (or events) constitutes a world line. Thus Gamow explains in a preface what his world line will be. He proceeds then to choose just those events he finds memorable or interesting as they occurred in Odessa or Leningrad, Copenhagen, London, or Los Alamos. It is vintage Gamow; fine narrative material of student days with sidekicks like Lev Landau (Nobel Laureate in physics in 1962), and versifying girl friends; stories of studies with Max Born in Gottingen or Rutherford in London or Bohr in Copenhagen, but not ones which deal with theoretical events so much as relaxed personal anecdotes of the men and Gamow's relation to them. There are also sadder accounts of life in Stalinist Russia and of attempts to flee. Gel out he did, of course, through a complex chain of circumstances, and eventually he settled in the United States. Unfortunately this phase of the world line is abbreviated since Gamow was still working on it at the time of his death last year. Impressive evidence of (in the words of a colleague) ""perhaps the last example of amateurism in scientific work on a grand scale.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1970
Publisher: Viking