Deciphering the Cosmic Number: The Strange Friendship of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung

Arthur I Miller

Deciphering the Cosmic Number: The Strange Friendship of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung

This is the story of the famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung and the groundbreaking physicist Wolfgang Pauli's struggle to quantify the unconscious. Pauli was fascinated by the inner reaches of his psyche and not afraid to dabble in the occult, while Jung looked to science for answers to the psychological questions that tormented him. In 1932, they met. Their friendship led them, in Jung's words, into 'the no-man's land between physics and the psychology of the unconscious...the most fascinating yet the darkest hunting ground of our times.' Both were obsessed with the far-reaching significance of the number '137'. Their quest to solve its enigma led them on a lifelong journey into the secrets of alchemy, the work of Johannes Kepler and the "Chinese Book of Changes". 3.2 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
Deciphering the Cosmic Number: The Strange Friendship of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Biography, Science & Nature, Psychology & Psychiatry
Format Hardback
Pages 368
RRP £18.99
Date of Publication June 2009
ISBN 978-0393065329
Publisher W. W. Norton & Co.
 

This is the story of the famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung and the groundbreaking physicist Wolfgang Pauli's struggle to quantify the unconscious. Pauli was fascinated by the inner reaches of his psyche and not afraid to dabble in the occult, while Jung looked to science for answers to the psychological questions that tormented him. In 1932, they met. Their friendship led them, in Jung's words, into 'the no-man's land between physics and the psychology of the unconscious...the most fascinating yet the darkest hunting ground of our times.' Both were obsessed with the far-reaching significance of the number '137'. Their quest to solve its enigma led them on a lifelong journey into the secrets of alchemy, the work of Johannes Kepler and the "Chinese Book of Changes".

Reviews

The Times Higher Education

Graham Farmelo

One of the virtues of Miller's account is the accessibility of its science... For me, Miller overstates Pauli's importance as an original thinker... Yet it is undeniably fascinating to read Pauli's recollected dreams and Jung's attempts to understand them. These sections, the highlight of the book, give valuable insights into a great scientist addressing his own personality in ways that transcend his own expertise.

16/07/2009

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The Daily Mail

Sam Leith

Is it [the number 137] the answer to life, the universe and everything? ... one of Miller's own footnotes puts a slight pin in the old balloon... In the end, Miller's strange and sometimes clumsily-written book is interesting for just this reason. In addition to telling you some intriguing things about the weird stuff that goes on in atoms, he gives you a sense of how scientists' minds work: by leaps of intuition that are quite as irrational and excitable as any poet's or psychologist's.

19/06/2009

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The Literary Review

Peter Watson

Miller presents the unconscious as undisputed fact, a serious anachronism. It is not the only one... this is a great Emmental cheese of a book, tasty in small bites but disfigured by huge intellectual air-holes.

01/07/2009

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