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Charap, John M. 1935-

CHARAP, John M. 1935-


PERSONAL: Born January 1, 1935, in London, England; son of Samuel (an accountant) and Irene (a homemaker; maiden name, Shaw) Charap; married Ellen Kuhn (an artist), July 11, 1961; children: David. Education: Cambridge University, M.A., Ph.D., 1959. Politics: Labour.




ADDRESSES: Offıce—Queen Mary College, University of London, Mile End Rd., London E1 4NS, England. E-mail—[email protected]


CAREER: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, research associate, 1959-60; University of California—Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, research associate, 1960-62; Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, member, 1962-63; University of London, London, England, lecturer at Imperial College of Science and Technology, 1963-65, reader at Queen Mary College, 1965-78, professor of physics, 1978—. Guest on media programs.


MEMBER: European Physical Society, Institute of Physics, American Physical Society.


WRITINGS:


(Editor) Geometry of Constrained Dynamical Systems, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

Explaining the Universe: The New Age of Physics, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2002.


Contributor to scientific journals and other periodicals, including Nature, Physics Bulletin, Guardian, London Review of Books, Listener, Spectator, and Times Higher Education Supplement. Editor, Surveys in High Energy Physics. Editor of the monograph series "Unwin Studies in Physics," George Allen & Unwin, 1970s, and "Studies in High Energy Physics," Harwood Academic Publishers, 1979-87.


WORK IN PROGRESS: Research for a book on unanswered questions in physics; research on theoretical physics, including string-theory and M-theory.

SIDELIGHTS: John M. Charap told CA: "I have taught physics throughout my professional career and have been drawn to the way that even the most subtle ideas can be put across without the use of mathematics, and can excite the imagination and interest of non-scientists. I regard the public understanding of science as a challenge to those engaged in university-level teaching and research.


"I also wish to take every opportunity to counter the misunderstanding of the nature of the scientific method and enterprise that confuses the real wonder of the universe with the claptrap nonsense that fills the media—what has been described as 'voodoo science' and in its more academic context emerges as scientific relativism and the so-called 'strong program' of the philosophy of science.


"When invited to write Explaining the Universe: The New Age of Physics, I was glad to embark on what became a research project to broaden my own knowledge and to find explanations that were at the same time accurate but nontechnical. I believe that I have succeeded and would like to do more."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


PERIODICALS


Booklist, September 1, 2002, Gilbert Taylor, review of Explaining the Universe: The New Age of Physics, p. 32.

M2 Best Books, December 31, 2002, Kevin Turner, review of Explaining the Universe.

Science News, October 12, 2002, review of Explaining the Universe, p. 239.

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