Full of drama, dedication, and humor, this book narrates the author's often frustrating experiences working as an experimental physicist in Cuba after the disintegration of the so-called socialist block. Lacking finance and infrastructure, faced with makeshift equipment, unpredictable supplies, and unreliable IT, Altshuler tells how he and his students overcame numerous challenges to make novel and interesting contributions to several fields of science. Along the way, he explains the science - from studies of ant colonies to superconductivity - either qualitatively or quantitatively, but always at a level fully understandable to an undergraduate student of natural sciences or engineering. An even wider audience, however, may skip the technical sections without missing the essence. With numerous anecdotes, photographs and the author's own delightful cartoons, the book tells a remarkable, and often amusing story of how successful science can be performed against all odds. Ernesto Altshuler graduated from the University of Havana in 1986, and defended there his PhD in Physics in 1994 - at the peak of the economic crisis associated with the disintegration of the Soviet block. Since 1982 he has undertaken original research in the fields of magnetism, superconductivity, granular matter, social insects, bacterial dynamics, and a variety of other subjects.
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