John Ziman bigraphy, stories - New Zealand physicist

John Ziman : biography

16 May 1925 - 02 January 2005

John Michael Ziman (16 May 1925 – 2 January 2005) was a British-born New Zealand physicist and humanist who worked in the area of condensed matter physics. He was a spokesman for science, as well as a teacher and author.

Ziman was born in Cambridge, England but moved to New Zealand with his family in childhood and obtained his early education at Hamilton and the University of Wellington. He obtained his PhD from Balliol College, Oxford and did his early research on the theory of electrons in liquid metals at the University of Cambridge.

In 1964 he was appointed professor of theoretical physics at University of Bristol, where he wrote his Elements Of Advanced Quantum Theory (1969) which explains the rudiments of quantum field theory with an elementary condensed matter slant. During this period, his interests shifted towards the philosophy of science. He argued about the social dimension of science, and the social responsibility of scientists in numerous essays and books.

He married twice, to Rosemary Dixon in 1951 and secondly to Joan Solomon, and was survived by her and three of his four children.

Selected publications

  • An Introduction to Science Studies: The Philosophical and Social Aspects of Science and Technology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987, ISBN 978-0-521-34680-1
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