The definitive biography of the brilliant, charismatic, and very human physicist and innovator Enrico Fermi
In 1942, a team at the University of Chicago achieved what no one had before: a nuclear chain reaction. At the forefront of this breakthrough stood Enrico Fermi. Straddling the ages of classical physics and quantum mechanics, equally at ease with theory and experiment, Fermi truly was the last man who knew everything--at least about physics. But he was also a complex figure who was a part of both the Italian Fascist Party and the Manhattan Project, and a less-than-ideal father and husband who nevertheless remained one of history's greatest mentors. Based on new archival material and exclusive interviews, The Last Man Who Knew Everything lays bare the enigmatic life of a colossus of twentieth century physics.
David N. Schwartz holds a PhD in political science from MIT and is the author of two previous books. He has worked at the State Department Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs, and at Goldman Sachs in a variety of roles in both London and New York. He lives in New York with his wife, Susan. His father, Melvin Schwartz, shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1988.
"Told in a sure, steady voice, Schwartz's book delivers a scrupulously researched and lovingly crafted portrait of the 'greatest Italian scientist since Galileo.'"-- Publishers Weekly
"There have been other accounts of his life, yet David N. Schwartz's new portrait, The Last Man Who Knew Everything, is the first thorough biography to be published since Fermi's death 64 years ago in 1954. Schwartz, working with limited sources, tells the story well...[His] biography adds importantly to the literature of the utterly remarkable men and women who opened up nuclear physics to the world."-- New York Times Book Review
"One of the finest biographies of the year, The Last Man Who Knew Everything combines the historic, the scientific and the personal in a deft and effortless way. Enrico Fermi was easily one of the most fascinating human beings of the 20th century, a man whose intellectual brilliance was trapped inside an all-too-human shell. The result, in David Schwartz's able interpretation, is nothing short of spellbinding."-- Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure and Super Sad True Love Story