Jeremy Bernstein (born December 31, 1929 in Rochester, New York) is an American theoretical physicist and science essayist.
Bernstein's parents, Philip S. Bernstein, a Reform rabbi, and Sophie Rubin Bernstein named him after the biblical Jeremiah, the subject of his father's masters thesis. Philip's parents were immigrants from Lithuania, while Sophie was of Russian-Jewish descent. The family moved from Rochester to New York City during World War II, when his father became head of all the Jewish chaplains in the armed forces.
Education and career
Bernstein studied at Harvard University, receiving his bachelor degree in 1951, masters in 1953, and Ph.D. in 1955, on electromagnetic properties of deuterium, under Julian Schwinger. As a theoretical physicist, he worked on elementary particle physics and cosmology. A summer spent in Los Alamos led to a position at the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1962 he became a faculty member at New York University, moving to became a professor of physics at Stevens Institute of Technology in 1967, a position that he continues to hold as Professor Emeritus. He has held adjunct or visiting positions at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, CERN, Oxford, the University of Islamabad, and the Ecole Polytechnique.
He was also involved in Project Orion, investigating the potential for nuclear pulse propulsion for use in space travel.
Bernstein is best known for his popular science writing and profiles of scientists. He was a staff writer for The New Yorker from 1961 to 1995 and authored many dozens of articles. He has also written regularly for The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Review of Books, and Scientific American, among others. His books include "Physicists on Wall Street and Other Essays on Science and Society" (2010), "Nuclear Weapons: What You Need to Know" (2010), "Quantum Leaps" (2009), "Hitler's Uranium Club: The Secret Recordings at Farm Hall" (2000), "In the Himalayas: Journeys through Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan" (1996), and others, more than 15 books in all. "The Life It Brings", an autobiographical memoir, was published in 1986. Bernstein's biographical profiles of physicists, including Robert Oppenheimer, Hans Bethe, Albert Einstein and others, are able to draw on the experiences of personal acquaintance.
- Elementary Particles and Their Currents, Freeman 1968
- Kinetic Theory in the Expanding Universe, Cambridge University Press, 1988
- Cosmological Constants – Papers in Modern Cosmology (with Gerald Feinberg), Columbia University Press 1986, ISBN 978-0-231-06376-0
- Plutonium – a History of the World's Most Dangerous Element, Cornell University Press 2009
- Nuclear Weapons – What You Need to Know, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-88408-2
- The Life it Brings – One Physicist's Beginnings, Ticknor and Field, Penguin 1987
- A Theory of Everything, Springer 1996 (Essays)
- Quantum Profiles, Princeton University Press 1990 (conversations with physicists John Stewart Bell and John Archibald Wheeler, and Einstein's correspondence with Michele Besso), ISBN 0-691-08725-3
- Three Degrees Above Zero – Bell Labs in the Information Age, Scribners, New York 1984
- A Physicist on Wall Street and Other Essays on Science and Society, Springer 2008, ISBN 978-0-387-76505-1
- Albert Einstein and the Frontiers of Physics, Oxford University Press 1996
- Science Observed – Essays Out of My Mind, Basic Books 1982
- Cranks, Quarks and the Cosmos – Writings on Science, Basic Books 1993
- The Merely Personal: Observations on Science and Scientists, Ivan Dee, Chicago 2001
- Oppenheimer – Portrait of an Enigma, Ivan Dee, Chicago 2004, ISBN 978-1-566-63569-1
- Hans Bethe – Prophet of Energy, Basic Books 1980
- Hitler's Uranium Club – The Secret Recordings of Farm Hall (with David C. Cassidy), American Institute of Physics 1996
- Analytical Engine – Computers Past, Present and Future, Random House 1964
- Comprehensible World – on Modern Science and its Origin, Random House 1967
- Einstein, Viking Press 1973, Penguin Books 1976
- Secrets of the Old One: Albert Einstein 1905, Copernicus Books, New York, 2006
- Experiencing Science, Basic Books 1978
- Modern Physics (with Paul Fishbane, Stephen Gasiorowicz), Prentice Hall 2000
- Tenth Dimension: an Informal History of High Energy Physics, McGraw Hill 1989
- Quantum Leaps, Belknap Press 2009
- Jeremy Bernstein, Personal History, “I-THE LIFE IT BRINGS,” The New Yorker, January 26, 1987, p. 35
- Jeremy Bernstein, Personal History, “II-THE LIFE IT BRINGS,” The New Yorker, February 2, 1987, p. 39
- "Jeremy Bernstein," Encyclopedia Britannica
- "Jeremy Bernstein (member bio)" at Edge.org
- The New Yorker, Search:Jeremy Bernstein