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As World War II wound down and it became increasingly clear that the Allies would emerge victorious, Albert Einstein invited three close friends-all titans of contemporary science and philosophy-to his home at 112 Mercer Street in Princeton, New Jersey, to discuss what they loved best-science and philosophy. His guests were the legendary philosopher and pacifist, Bertrand Russell; the boy wonder of quantum physics, Wolfgang Pauli; and the brilliant logician, Kurt Gödel. Their casual meetings took place far from the horrific battlefields of the war and the (then) secret lair of experimental atomic physicists in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Using these historic meetings as his launching pad, Feldman sketches the lives and contributions of the four friends, colleagues, and rivals-especially Einstein, innately self-confident but frustrated in his attempt to come up with a unified theory, and the aristocratic but self-doubting Lord Russell. Masterfully researched, this book accessibly illuminates the feelings of these notable men about the world of science that was then beginning to pass them by, and about the dawning atomic age that terrified them all.

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