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A Matter of Degrees

What Temperature Reveals About the Past and Future of our Species, Planet and Universe

A Matter of Degrees by Gino SegrèThis book, my first, explored our continual uncovering of temperature’s many mysteries, from the causes of fevers in humans to the finding of thermophilic bacteria, from measuring the contents of the Sun’s core to studying the Universe’s beginning.

Writing the book was a great and pleasurable adventure. Among the many things I learned was how little control you have once the publishing process is set in motion. It started by my wife Bettina picking the title- she’s a wizard. However, in the United Kingdom, after the editors read my account of Leo Szilard and Albert Einstein designing a better refrigerator, they sold the book as “Einstein’s Refrigerator”. In Italy they gave it the name “Some Like it Cold” and slapped a picture of a penguin on the cover. Sales might have been better if they had called it “Some Like it Hot” and put one of Marilyn Monroe on the cover, but I appreciate that there are copyright laws.

Einstein's Refridgerator and A Qualcuno Piace Freddo by Gino Segrè


  • Both refreshing and rewarding. Segrè has an easygoing style, sprinkled with anecdotes and history,that immediately draws you in; it is like listening to a graceful conversation. For newcomers, Segre’s book is a pleasurable introduction to many key scientific ideas.
    New York Times
  • Unlike many of his colleagues, Segre` knows how to communicate with non-specialists, and this is one of the most deft and accessible books I’ve read in a long time.
    Los Angeles Times
  • A Matter of Degrees, by a physicist named Segrè, is a perfectly marvelous book. Not a book you can go through at 90 mph, but if you parse through it slowly, you’ll get a lot out of it. You’ll get a lot of hours per dollar if you use it right.
    Charlie Munger, 2003 Wesco Annual Meeting
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