One of The London Times' Best History Books of 2015.
Selected as one of the Best Science Books of 2015 by Science for the People.
One of Scientific American's June 2015 recommended titles.
One of Discover's recommended reads for the summer of 2015.
Selected as one of Choice's 2015 Outstanding Academic Titles in the History of Science & Technology category.
Honorable Mention, 2016 Prose Award: Popular Science & Popular Mathematics
2016 Housatonic Book Award for Non-Fiction Recipient.
"Max Planck's name is one of the best known in twentieth-century physics and Planck's story is one of the least known. Brandon Brown's eminently readable book helps us get to know better this giant of science."--Istvan Hargittai, author of Martians of Science, Budapest University of Technology and Economics
"Planck had his flaws, but readers of this engrossing, insightful, and definitive biography will share Brown's admiration and agree that he deserves his iconic reputation."--Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"[Planck's] latest biographer, physics professor Brandon Brown, is his best: searching, sympathetic, and technically informed....He's a lively writer and a first-rate explainer...Certainly a worthwhile thing to read..."--Open Letters Monthly
"Like Max Planck, the subject of his fascinating and deeply moving new book, Brandon Brown assembles prose 'in the manner of a master watch maker,' placing readers with care and precision in the heart of history, science, friendship, and family. The book throbs with the warmth and tragedy of human connections, and it is suspenseful on many levels: cultural, emotional, intellectual. Einstein once said Planck pursued science from a hunger in his soul: Brown's book proceeds with a similar pure urgency. Seldom have life, work, and love, and their nourishing intersections, been so well, so attentively, and so beautifully described."-- Tracy Daugherty, author of The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion, Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller, and Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme
"Planck is beautifully written, dramatic, engaging, and completely accessible....This engrossing and surprising book helps us understand some of the deepest and most fascinating topics in physics, while it also shows how personal relationships shaped the history of science."--Laura Helmuth, Science and Health Editor, Slate magazine
"[T]his biography looks more deeply into the mind and personality of its subject than many scientific biographies. And Planck's life is worth examining for the lessons it illustrates about scientists working within a society that values ideology over intelligence."--Science News
"[T]here's...an important story to be told about these tragedies, and its told rather perfectly by Brandon Brown...Wonderful."--London Times
"Max Planck is a compelling character and Brown's fervour is inspiring. He has done a great service by shedding light on the life and work of a very brilliant though troubled individual, 'father of quantum theory' and witness to the greatest upheavals of the 20th century."--History Today
"Brown paints an intimate portrait of Planck in lithe, lively prose and avoids the worshipful tones that sometimes mark popular scientific biographies....Although this is a popular history that focuses more on its subject's life than his work, Brown demonstrates careful attention to the historical literature. The brief discussions of the scientific research conducted by Planck and his cohort, interspersed throughout, are deftly described and true to their times. The story of Planck's life is a remarkable one, and no fuller or more readable account exists in the English language. Highly recommended."--CHOICE
"The life of Max Planck, 'father of quantum theory,' smacks of enigma: his personal papers were mostly destroyed in the Second World War. Physicist Brandon Brown has mined what survived for this illuminating biography."--Nature
"Brown's engaging biography of Planck is beautifully written and will be accessible to a broad readership of physicists and historians. It is popular history of science at its best."--Physics Today
"Planck is an illuminating and thought-provoking book about one of physics' near-greats and his troubled times."--Physics World
"Historians of leading physicists and their complex scientific theories will appreciate Brown's inclusion of many of them here....Understanding the science is not necessary to appreciate the main points of the book, however."--H-Net Online
"I loved every aspect of this engaging portrait of Max Planck."--Naomi Pasachoff, Metascience
Brandon R. Brown is a Professor of Physics at the University of San Francisco. His biophysics work on the electric sense of sharks, as covered by NPR and the BBC, has appeared in Nature, The Physical Review, and other research journals. His writing for general audiences has appeared in New Scientist, SEED, the Huffington Post, and other outlets.