Science, biography, and arctic exploration coverage in this extraordinary true story of the life and work of Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland, the troubled genius who solved the mysteries of one of nature’s most spectacular displays.
Captivated by the otherworldly lights of the aurora borealis, Birkeland embarked on a lifelong quest to discover their cause. His pursuit took him to some of the most forbidding landscapes on earth, from the remote snowcapped mountains of Norway to the war-torn deserts of Africa. In the face of rebuke by the scientific establishment, sabotage by a jealous rival, and his own battles with depression and paranoia, Birkeland remained steadfast. Although ultimately vindicated, his theories were unheralded—and his hopes for the Nobel Prize scuttled—at the time of his suspicious death in 1917.
The Northern Lights offers a brilliant account of the physics behind the aurora borealis and a rare look inside the mind of one of history's most visionary scientists.
"As gripping as a Conan Doyle adventure." –Harper's Magazine
"Fascinating... evokes the manic, punishing era of polar exploration."– The New York Times Book Review
"A fascinating nugget of history... Jago charts her course unerringly."–Chicago Tribune
"Jago deftly paints a historical background for some of the most important concepts in electromagnetic theory today, breathing life into [her] subject."–Scientific American
"Thrilling... if you like a Faustian fable, war, and weird science, then this is for you."-Conde Nast Traveler