Review: Doomsday Men by PD Smith
13 June 2007
In a nutshell… Academic, entertaining, informing thought-provoking.
What's it all about?
Scientists striving to create the ultimate superweapon forms the backbone to Smith's Doomsday Men, but (fortunately) it isn't all just protons, atoms and complicated formulas.
In fact Smith's study is as much about popular perceptions towards humanity's devastating potential as it is about the development of them. Interspersed with the physics of destruction and biographical details of the key figures - Leo Szilard, Albert Einstein and co - are revealing selections of contemporary films, fiction and other media. …
Who's it by?
Peter Smith is an honorary research fellow at UCL, but spends much of his time reviewing books and writing for newspapers. He has a pedigree of this sort of research, including a study of German science from 1780 to 1955, as well as the obligatory review of Einstein. He's interested in linking up the 'two cultures' of science and literature - which is exactly what he does in this book.
Alex Stevenson, inthenews.co.uk