Praise for Max Born

"Theoretical physics will flourish wherever you happen to be; there is no other Born to be found in Germany today."

Albert Einstein to Max Born, March 3, 1920

"Born was more firmly convinced than Bohr that, in the end, there must be a self-consistent, strictly mathematically formulated quantum mechanics; that it could not remain in the state of contradiction and compromise between Newtonian mechanics, quantum conditions, and the light quantum hypothesis. Out of the joint work of the Born School in the years 1925 and 1926 came the final form of the new Atom Mechanics."

Werner Heisenberg, January 12, 1970

Praise for The End of the Certain World

German physicist Max Born (1882-1970) was Werner Heisenberg's mentor on the experiments in quantum mechanics that earned Heisenberg the 1932 Nobel Prize and enduring fame; one of the most valuable contributions of Greenspan's biography, the first ever of Born, is an analysis of the backstage considerations that excluded Born from sharing in that honor. (He was recognized more than 20 years later for related research.) Although Born's theoretical breakthroughs get some explanation, Greenspan is much more concerned with the human drama behind the science, and, granted access by the family to Born's papers, she uses them to significant effect in drawing out her tale. Born's struggle for full recognition from his peers is placed in the context of the anti-Semitic milieu of early 20th-century Germany and a turbulent marriage that at one point resulted in a nervous breakdown. When the Nazis took power, Born was forced to resign his university post and flee with his family to England; his efforts as a refugee to regain personal and professional stability provide some of the biography's most poignant moments. This empathetic work, Greenspan's first solo effort, lifts a deserving figure out of semi-obscurity and adds a valuable perspective on the origin of modern physics. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Mar.)


"This is an insightful, moving, and beautifully written portrait of Max Born, a deeply sensitive man who in his long life experienced familial happiness and discord, professional success and injustice, political tranquility and upheaval, and through it all made his mark as one of the leading theoretical physicists of the twentieth century."

Roger H. Stuewer, emeritus professor of physics, University of Minnesota

"I am so proud of my grandfather. Nancy Greenspan has written an incredible book! I learned how much my grandfather influenced the science and history of the 20th century - from saving his fellow scientists from Hitler to debating Einstein on the uncertainty in the structure of the universe. The book is a wonderfully informative heirloom - if I may use that word - not only for my family but for the world of science and humanity."

Olivia Newton-John, Granddaughter of Max Born