[PW] 1950-era novel about a physicist

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Sun Jul 21 22:52:55 PDT 2019

Here is what surfaced when I searched for "physicist as hero" in
Google Books (GB).  Snippets from GB indicate that "Physics Today"
reviewed the following book circa 1949.

"The Big Secret" by Merle Colby
The Viking Press, New York, 1949

[Begin excerpt]
There may be a curious lesson here for physicists, whose secrets are a
bone of contention (to their own dismay and discomfort), but the
lesson is born in a strange setting. The Big Secret is a combination
detective thriller, morality play, and satire.

With a young nuclear physicist as hero, the book combines two
ingredients of high potential—Washington and atomic energy—to make a
point about science and politics.
[End excerpt]

An enormous number of science fiction stories have scientists as heroes.

On Mon, Jul 22, 2019 at 12:31 AM Daphne Drewello <drewello at daktel.com> wrote:
> I know absolutely nothing about sf, but in the 1950s Robert Heinlein wrote a series of sf novels for teenagers.  Maybe it was one of those?
> Daphne Drewello
> Jamestown, ND
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Project-wombat <project-wombat-bounces at lists.project-wombat.org> On Behalf Of Mark Halpern
> Sent: Sunday, July 21, 2019 9:57 PM
> To: list at project-wombat.org
> Subject: [PW] 1950-era novel about a physicist
> Dear Colleagues,
>    I have just received this plea from a good friend, a mathematician/physicist who has held responsible positions in national laboratories:
>   When I was in about the 8th grade, I read a novel which centered around a young guy who was a physicist.  I remember nothing more about it other than that I liked it a lot.  I don’t remember the plot (a mystery?), the title, the author’s name, nothing else.  It made being a physicist sound both interesting and, for me, even glamorous.  I guess that it must have been around 1950 when I read it.  It MAY have been a teenager’s book, but I’m not sure of that, either.
> It was only much later in life that I realized that book, plus one or two other things I read in those years, plus my high school course in plane geometry, got me interested in science and math.
> Do you think you could contact your research librarians group with such  flimsy clues and see what they come up with, if anything?
> I've long been boasting  to this friend about the Wombats; how they manage to find the most remote and forgotten items of information based on the flimsiest of clues, so please validate my boasts, and come up with the name of the book he's seeking!  He and I will be forever grateful!
>                             Mark Halpern    (solomons1pal at aol.com) _______________________________________________
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