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Bird of Passage:
Recollections of a Physicist
Rudolf Peierls

Paperback | 2014 | $64.00 | £53.95 | ISBN: 9780691602202
Hardcover | 2016 | $167.50 | £141.95 | ISBN: 9780691631745
376 pp. | 6 x 9
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Here is the intensely personal and often humorous autobiography of one of the most distinguished theoretical physicists of his generation, Sir Rudolf Peierls. Born in Germany in 1907, Peierls was indeed a bird of passage," whose career of fifty-five years took him to leading centers of physics--including Munich, Leipzig, Zurich, Copenhagen, Cambridge, Manchester, Oxford, and J. Robert Oppenheimer's Los Alamos. Peierls was a major participant in the revolutionary development of quantum mechanics in the 1920s and 1930s, working with some of the pioneers and, as he puts it, "some of the great characters" in this field.

Originally published in 1985.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.


"[This] fascinating autobiography not only attests to [Peierls's] having been in on the most important scientific developments since the mid-1920s--in brief, the quantum revolution--but his lively account of the events of this period, and of its main actors, their contributions, and--with respect and sympathy--their quirks, provides a significant contribution to the scientific history of our time."--Bernard T. Feld, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

"Anybody with some interest in the way scientists live, feel and think, should read this book. They will be richly rewarded and entertained."--Victor Weisskopf, London Times Higher Education Supplement

"He knew everyone in the small pre-war physics world, and stories of his many friends are told delightfully."--Sir Nevill Mott, Physics Bulletin

"This is an excellent book with far more in it than I can mention here, which I wholeheartedly recommend."--David Hall, Scope

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  • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

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File created: 7/11/2017

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