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A Brilliant Darkness: The Extraordinary Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Ettore Majorana, the Troubled Genius of the Nuclear Age

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9780465009039: A Brilliant Darkness: The Extraordinary Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Ettore Majorana, the Troubled Genius of the Nuclear Age
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A theoretical physicist reveals one of the greatest untold stories of 20th-century science: the tormented genius, who discovered a key element of atomic fission, then disappeared and was never seen again. On the night of March 26th, 1938, nuclear physicist Ettore Majorana boarded a ship in Palermo, cash and a passport in hand. He was never seen again. "A Brilliant Darkness" tells the story of Majorana and his research group, nicknamed 'the Via Panisperna Boys', who unknowingly discovered atomic fission in 1934. As Majorana, the most brilliant of the group, began to realize what they had found, he became increasingly troubled, and his mental state, never terribly healthy, became unstable. Did he commit suicide that night in Palermo? Was he kidnapped? Did he stage his own death? As author Joao Magueijo narrates Majorana's tragic life and bizarre disappearance, he also offers a surprising look at the dark underbelly of science-not only its ethical difficulties but its often complex group dynamics. The momentum generated by the Via Panisperna Boys is the type that takes science in unpredictable directions: it can lead to grossly amoral errors such as eugenics, breakthroughs such as the discovery of the structure of DNA, or highly attractive dead ends such as string theory. The atomic bomb is just one of many troubling results of this dynamic. This gripping story not only chronicles Majorana's invaluable discovery - the Majorana neutrino - but also reveals new clues about one of science's most alluring mysteries.

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Review:

Publishers Weekly
"Part mystery, part biography and part nuclear physics primer.... Magueijo's examination of Majorana...reveals a troubled, confounding man whose disappearance has inspired as many conspiracy theories as the Roswell incident."

Library Journal
"[Magueijo] could have easily fallen into the jargon of his profession to describe the work of a fellow scientist, but he does not. His clear explanation of Majorana's insight into nuclear physics, often accompanied with drawings and illustrations, will appeal to a wide audience."

SEEDMagazine.com
"A Brilliant Darkness excavates Majorana's troubled life, explaining his contributions to physics and uncovering new clues about his peculiar disappearance more than 70 years ago."

Booklist (starred review)
"Magueijo explains [Majorana's] scientific theories in mercifully simple terms. But what simple terms can illuminate a tortured and unstable personality, vulnerable to bouts of depression and prone to antisocial reclusiveness? The complexities of that personality resist assimilation into any of the standard explanations - suicide, kidnapping, flight, monastic retreat - for Majorana's disappearance. But astounded readers will thank Magueijo for his daring venture into the science and the psyche of a perplexing figure."

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Book Description Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. On the night of March 26, 1938, nuclear physicist Ettore Majorana boarded a ship, cash and passport in hand. He was never seen again. In A Brilliant Darkness , theoretical physicist Joao Magueijo tells the story of Majorana and his research group, the Via Panisperna Boys," who discovered atomic fission in 1934. As Majorana, the most brilliant of the group, began to realize the implications of what they had found, he became increasingly unstable. Did he commit suicide that night in Palermo? Was he kidnapped? Did he stage his own death? A Brilliant Darkness chronicles Majorana's invaluable contributions to science,including his major discovery, the Majorana neutrino,while revealing the truth behind his fascinating and tragic life. Seller Inventory # APC9780465009039

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Book Description Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. On the night of March 26, 1938, nuclear physicist Ettore Majorana boarded a ship, cash and passport in hand. He was never seen again. In A Brilliant Darkness , theoretical physicist Joao Magueijo tells the story of Majorana and his research group, the Via Panisperna Boys," who discovered atomic fission in 1934. As Majorana, the most brilliant of the group, began to realize the implications of what they had found, he became increasingly unstable. Did he commit suicide that night in Palermo? Was he kidnapped? Did he stage his own death? A Brilliant Darkness chronicles Majorana's invaluable contributions to science,including his major discovery, the Majorana neutrino,while revealing the truth behind his fascinating and tragic life. Seller Inventory # LHB9780465009039

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