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Strange Beauty

George Johnson

A work that does justice to one of the great scientific geniuses of the age

In 1994 the American physicist Murray Gell-Mann published The Quark and the Jaguar, an attempt to explain his view of the universe. Gell-Mann, who is undoubtedly as brilliant as Stephen Hawking, expected his book to be as successful as A Brief History of Time. Indeed, it is believed that he received the biggest ever advance for a science book.

But The Quark and the Jaguar was a flop, both commercially and critically, because it failed to convey the excitement and emotion of Gell-Mann’s life and work. Fortunately, we now have
Strange Beauty, George Johnson’s dramatic and lucid biography of Gell-Mann, one of the true geniuses of the 20th century….

(extract from Simon Singh’s review, Daily Telegraph, 22 January 2000)