The Forgotten Genius of Oliver Heaviside: A Maverick of Electrical Science

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You’d think it would be hard to make a biography about a scientist who specialized in electrical theory entertaining. After all, we’re talking about a man whose life was dedicated to demystifying the work of James Clerk Maxwell, another man who inspired the creation of entire new fields of study, many of them poorly understood by top minds.

Thankfully, Basil Mahon is up to the task, bringing to life one of the true mavericks of modern science: Oliver Heaviside. The brash, uncompromising, brilliant, biting, and hilariously savage scientist shines in this piece, even as he’s explaining the confusing minutiae of electrical theory.

Heaviside gets his due, warts and all, in Mahon’s well-balanced and insightful tome, explaining the curious age of telegraph and telephone expansion, a world where a small scientific elite could hold down one of their betters with a few vicious words.

Mahon makes Heaviside feel like someone you should know and should have heard of, which is a rare accomplishment in the biography field, where so many tomes drone on about who someone was and not why we should care. Mahon makes us care about this strange, difficult, interesting man.


Reviewed By:

Author Basil Mahon
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher Prometheus Books
Publish Date 2017-Sep-12
ISBN 9781633883314
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2017
Category History
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