Greenspan, Nancy Thorndike

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Greenspan, Nancy Thorndike

PERSONAL:

Married Stanley I. Greenspan (a psychiatrist and author). Education: Mount Holyoke College, B.A.; University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, M.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Bethesda, MD. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer.

WRITINGS:

The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born: The Nobel Physicist Who Ignited the Quantum Revolution, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2005.

WITH HUSBAND, STANLEY I. GREENSPAN

The Clinical Interview of the Child, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1981, 3rd edition, American Psychiatric Press (Washington, DC), 2003.

First Feelings: Milestones in the Emotional Development of Your Baby and Child, Viking (New York, NY), 1985.

The Essential Partnership: How Parents and Children Can Meet the Emotional Challenges of Infancy and Childhood, Viking (New York, NY), 1989.

Has written articles about economics and the environment.

SIDELIGHTS:

In addition to writing several books in child psychiatry and psychology with her husband, Stanley I. Greenspan, Nancy Thorndike Greenspan is the author of a biography of one of the most notable physicists of the twentieth century. For her book titled The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born: The Nobel Physicist Who Ignited the Quantum Revolution, Greenspan spent four years gathering, translating, and cataloguing documents from academic archives around the world. The result is an in-depth biography of the theoretical physicist Born, who was a founding father of the quantum theory of physics and won a Nobel Prize for his seminal role in the "Golden Age of Physics."

In her biography, the author provides not only a history of Born's life and an accounting of his scientific discoveries but also a social history and a history of science that takes readers through the life of a scientist and humanitarian as he struggled with the forces of religion, politics, and war. The book's title refers to Born's investigation into the collision of electrons and particles and his resulting theory that the outcome of this collision could not be exactly determined statistically but only determined within the realm of probability. Today, this theory is a basic tenet of quantum theory and marked the beginning of the end of the idea of causality as the foundation of scientific theory.

Greenspan's biography, however, is concerned with Born the man as well as the scientist. She details his flight from Nazi Germany in the early 1930s after losing his job as a university chair of physics because he was Jewish. She also describes his efforts as a humanitarian, from mentoring other scientists over the years to his outspokenness on the dangers of nuclear weapons, an advancement in military weaponry he felt partially responsible for because of his work in physics. Born was also a strong proponent of scientists not focusing only on their scientific research but also on the moral issues associated with their work.

"The End of the Certain World is a fine piece of literature," wrote Cary Seidman in the Journal of College Science Teaching. "With a clear and engaging style and minimal mathematics, Greenspan weaves a masterful story." Other reviewers also had high praise for the biography. A Bookwatch contributor referred to the biography as "a splendid coverage of a major figure." A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "lifts a deserving figure out of semi-obscurity and adds a valuable perspective on the origin of modern physics."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Baby, September, 1985, Stanley Greenspan, review of First Feelings: Milestones in the Emotional Development of Your Baby and Child, p. 72.

American Scientist, July 1, 2005, David C. Cassidy, "Born unto Trouble," review of The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born: The Nobel Physicist Who Ignited the Quantum Revolution, p. 372.

Biography, fall, 2005, David C. Cassidy, review of The End of the Certain World, p. 372.

Bookwatch, July, 2005, "Basic Books," review of The End of the Certain World.

Choice, October, 2005, D. Park, review of The End of the Certain World, p. 312.

Discover, August, 2005, Richard Panek, review of The End of the Certain World, p. 76.

Healthline, November, 1989, Bettina Wood, review of The Essential Partnership: How Parents and Children Can Meet the Emotional Challenges of Infancy and Childhood, p. 16.

Isis, September, 2006, Richard H. Beyler, review of The End of the Certain World, p. 569.

Journal of College Science Teaching, September, 2005, Cary Seidman, review of The End of the Certain World, p. 75.

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, January, 2005, Sharon M. Hasbani, review of The Clinical Interview of the Child, p. 102.

Library Journal, April 15, 1985, Janice Arenofsky, review of First Feelings, p. 77.

Nature, June 9, 2005, Kurt Gottfried, "Born to Greatness?," review of The End of the Certain World, p. 739.

Physics Today, January, 2006, Joan Lisa Bromberg, review of The End of the Certain World, p. 60.

Psychology Today, April, 1985, Colleen Cordes, review of First Feelings, p. 73.

Publishers Weekly, February 15, 1985, review of First Feelings, p. 91; January 20, 1989, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of The Essential Partnership, p. 135; February 7, 2005, review of The End of the Certain World, p. 54.

Science Books & Films, July-August, 2005, Barry R. Masters, review of The End of the Certain World, p. 158; November-December, 2005, review of The End of the Certain World, p. 240.

Science News, March 19, 2005, review of The End of the Certain World, p. 191.

Times Higher Education Supplement, April 29, 2005, Graham Farmelo, "The Trouble with Being Quietly Born," review of The End of the Certain World, p. 22.

ONLINE

Nancy Thorndike Greenspan Home Page,http://www.maxborn.net (February 25, 2008).

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