scientific conversions


Alan Hirshfeld delights in converting people into fans of science.

”All my books are written for the nonscientifically trained,” said the 53-year-old Newton resident, who is a physics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. ”Although we may not think about it too much, we’re all immersed in a world of science: sunsets, snowstorms, cellphones, microwave ovens.”

Hirshfeld’s latest book is ”The Electric Life of Michael Faraday,” about the 19th-century English scientist who developed the electric generator and motor. Hirshfeld said that Faraday was such a vivid character, the fact he was a scientist is almost secondary to his story.

Hirshfeld said his interest was sparked by a passage in Timothy Ferris’s ”Coming of Age in the Milky Way” that mentioned that Faraday was mathematically illiterate.

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