OCUS AND DIVERSIONS by Lancelot L. Whyte


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Focus and Diversions resembles nothing so much as a phrenology chart where the configuration of the skull is studded with a series of pockmarks indicative of one's mental potentialities and predilections. That is to say as an autobiography it is not only an extraordinarily rich exercise in self-revelation, but also a multi-leveled journey through most of the important intellectual, social and scientific issues of our time from the 1890's to the present. The author is Lancelot Whyte, the noted physicist and industrialist. One of his earlier books, The Next Development of Man, a look into the scientific future on the wings of process philosophy, has on and off since the '40's caused excited comments at cocktail parties or campus bars. His new work should generate the same appeal; some of the set-pieces- for instance, the papers , and the depressing irrelation between art, and science- buzz about brilliantly one wants to read them aloud to who's ever around. Then too there are splendid little snapshots of his colleagues and friends- people like Rutherford, Einstein, Russell, Bridgman, Jung, Mies van der Rohe, Edith Sitwell, and Frank Whittle with whom he pioneered in jet propulsion and production-plus a moving account of war-time experiences on the Somme, and later evocations of London, Berlin, and America. It's told rather randomly, but the ideas stimulate and the events startle; a highly significant testament of a New Renaissance man.

Pub Date: March 2nd, 1964
Publisher: Graziller