Books: Lamentations

NIGHT THOUGHTS OF A CLASSICAL PHYSICIST by Russell McCormmach Harvard University; 219pages; $15

The year is 1918, the place a small university town in a Germany whose people are slowly and unhappily awakening to the fact that they are losing the Great War. The protagonist is Victor Jakob, a professor of physics who, like his country, comes to realize that he too is being defeated. Younger, more imaginative men have challenged Jakob's beloved structure of classical physics, undermining the foundations of his intellectual world. Advancing age has confronted him with a more direct...

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