In this moving and eloquent portrait, Heilbron describes how the founder of quantum theory rose to the pinnacle of German science. He shows how Planck suffered morally and intellectually as his lifelong habit of service to his country and to physics was confronted by the realities of World War I and the brutalities of the Third Reich.
Depicts the life of the originator of quantum theory and examines his role in the German scientific community
In this moving and eloquent portrait, Heilbron describes how the founder of quantum theory rose to the pinnacle of German science. He shows how Planck suffered morally and intellectually as his lifelong habit of service to his country and to physics was confronted by the realities of World War I and the brutalities of the Third Reich.
With over 150 alphabetically arranged entries about key scientists, concepts, discoveries, technological innovations, and learned institutions, the Oxford Guide to Physics and Astronomy traces the history of physics and astronomy from the Renaissance to the present. For students, teachers, historians, scientists, and readers of popular science books such as Galileo's Daughter, this guide deciphers the methods and philosophies of physics and astronomy as well as the historical periods from which they emerged. Meant to serve the lay reader and the professional alike, this book can be turned to for the answer to how scientists learned to measure the speed of light, or consulted for neat, careful summaries of topics as complicated as quantum field theory and as vast as the universe. The entries, each written by a noted scholar and edited by J. L. Heilbron, Professor of History and Vice Chancellor, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley, reflect the most up-to-date research and discuss the applications of the scientific disciplines to the wider world of religion, law, war, art and literature. No other source on these two branches of science is as informative or as inviting. Thoroughly cross-referenced and accented by dozens of black and white illustrations, the Oxford Guide to Physics and Astronomy is the source to turn to for anyone looking for a quick explanation of alchemy, x-rays and any type of matter or energy in between.
A biography of the scientist considered to be the father of nuclear physics for his development of the nuclear theory of the atom in 1911 and discovery of alpha and beta rays and protons.
An epic story of science and technology at the very limits of human understanding: the monumental race to build the first atomic weapons. Rich in personality, action, confrontation, and deception, The First War of Physics is the first fully realized popular account of the race to build humankind's most destructive weapon. The book draws on declassified material, such as MI6's Farm Hall transcripts, coded soviet messages cracked by American cryptographers in the Venona project, and interpretations by Russian scholars of documents from the soviet archives. Jim Baggott weaves these threads into a dramatic narrative that spans ten historic years, from the discovery of nuclear fission in 1939 to the aftermath of 'Joe-1,’ August 1949's first Soviet atomic bomb test. Why did physicists persist in developing the atomic bomb, despite the devastation that it could bring? Why, despite having a clear head start, did Hitler's physicists fail? Could the soviets have developed the bomb without spies like Klaus Fuchs or Donald Maclean? Did the allies really plot to assassinate a key member of the German bomb program? Did the physicists knowingly inspire the arms race? The First War of Physics is a grand and frightening story of scientific ambition, intrigue, and genius: a tale barely believable as fiction, which just happens to be historical fact.
By the author of the acclaimed bestsellers Benjamin Franklin and Steve Jobs, this is the definitive biography of Albert Einstein. How did his mind work? What made him a genius? Isaacson’s biography shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. His fascinating story is a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom. Based on newly released personal letters of Einstein, this book explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk—a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn’t get a teaching job or a doctorate—became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom, and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals. These traits are just as vital for this new century of globalization, in which our success will depend on our creativity, as they were for the beginning of the last century, when Einstein helped usher in the modern age.
Utterly beautiful. Profoundly disconcerting. Quantum theory is quite simply the most successful account of the physical universe ever devised. Its concepts underpin much of the twenty-first century technology that we now take for granted. But at the same time it has completely undermined our ability to make sense of the world at its most fundamental level. Niels Bohr claimed that anybody who is not shocked by the theory has not understood it. The American physicist Richard Feynman went further: he claimed that nobody understands it. The Quantum Story begins in 1900, tracing a century of game-changing science. Popular science writer Jim Baggott first shows how, over the space of three decades, Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, and others formulated and refined the theory--and opened the floodgates. Indeed, since then, a torrent of ideas has flowed from the world's leading physicists, as they explore and apply the theory's bizarre implications. To take us from the story's beginning to the present day, Baggott organizes his narrative around forty turning-point moments of discovery. Many of these are inextricably bound up with the characters involved--their rivalries and their collaborations, their arguments and, not least, their excitement as they sense that they are redefining what reality means. Through the mix of story and science, we experience their breathtaking leaps of theory and experiment, as they uncover such undreamed of and mind-boggling phenomenon as black holes, multiple universes, quantum entanglement, the Higgs boson, and much more. Brisk, clear, and compelling, The Quantum Story is science writing at its best. A compelling look at the one-hundred-year history of quantum theory, it illuminates the idea as it reveals how generations of physicists have grappled with this monster ever since.
Between 1650 and 1750, four Catholic churches were the best solar observatories in the world. Built to fix an unquestionable date for Easter, they also housed instruments that threw light on the disputed geometry of the solar system, and so, within sight of the altar, subverted Church doctrine about the order of the universe. A tale of politically canny astronomers and cardinals with a taste for mathematics, "The Sun in the Church" tells how these observatories came to be, how they worked, and what they accomplished. It describes Galileo's political overreaching, his subsequent trial for heresy, and his slow and steady rehabilitation in the eyes of the Catholic Church. And it offers an enlightening perspective on astronomy, Church history, and religious architecture, as well as an analysis of measurements testing the limits of attainable accuracy, undertaken with rudimentary means and extraordinary zeal. Above all, the book illuminates the niches protected and financed by the Catholic Church in which science and mathematics thrived. Superbly written, "The Sun in the Church" provides a magnificent corrective to long-standing oversimplified accounts of the hostility between science and religion.
Whether in science or in international politics, neutrality has sometimes been promoted, not only as a viable political alternative but as a lofty ideal – in politics by nations proclaiming their peacefulness, in science as an underpinning of epistemology, in journalism and other intellectual pursuits as a foundation of a professional ethos. Time and again scientists and other intellectuals have claimed their endeavors to be neutral, elevated above the world of partisan conflict and power politics. This volume studies the resonances between neutrality in science and culture and neutrality in politics. By analyzing the activities of scientists, intellectuals, and politicians (sometimes overlapping categories) of mostly neutral nations in the First World War and after, it traces how an ideology of neutralism was developed that soon was embraced by international organizations. This book explores how the notion of neutrality has been used and how a neutralist discourse developed in history. None of the contributions take claims of neutrality at face value – some even show how they were made to advance partisan interests. The concept was typically clustered with notions, such as peace, internationalism, objectivity, rationality, and civilization. But its meaning was changeable – varying with professional, ideological, or national context. As such, Neutrality in Twentieth-Century Europe presents a different perspective on the century than the story of the great belligerent powers, and one in which science, culture, and politics are inextricably mixed.
The aim of this book is to explore science and technology from the viewpoint of creating new knowledge, as opposed to the reinterpretation of existing knowledge in ever greater but uncertain detail. Scientists and technologists make progress by distinguishing between what they regard as meaningful and what they consider as secondary or unimportant. The meaningful is dynamic; typically, the less important is static. Science and technology have made a major contribution to the culture and to the standard of living of our society. From antiquity to the present day, the most distinguished scientists and technologists have been thinkers, experimenters and persons willing and able to challenge “the obvious”. Technology develops products and processes based on the breakthroughs of science. If technologists fail to steadily upgrade their skills, tools and methods, they will only be as good as their last design, risking obsolescence. Using practical examples and case studies, this book documents the correlations existing between science and technology, and elucidates these correlations with practical applications ranging from real-life situations, from R&D to energy production. As it is a salient problem, and a most challenging one to our society, power production has been chosen as a major case study. The holistic approach to science and technology followed by this text enhances the ability to deliver practical results. This book is intended for students and researchers of science, technology and mathematical analysis, while also providing a valuable reference book for professionals. Its subject is one of the most debated problems of mankind.
Clearly written and well illustrated, the book first places the scientist-philosophers in the limelight as we learn how their great scientific discoveries forced them to reconsider the time-honored notions with which science had described the natural world. Then, the book explains that what we understand by nature and science have undergone fundamental conceptual changes as a result of the discoveries of electromagnetism, thermodynamics and atomic structure. The author concludes that the dance between science and philosophy is an evolutionary process, which will keep them forever entwined.
Heilbron takes in the landscape of culture, learning, religion, science, theology, and politics of late Renaissance Italy to produce a richer and more rounded view of Galileo, his scientific thinking, and the company he kept.
This is the first biography of Sir James Chadwick (1891-1974), best known as the discoverer of the neutron, for which he won the Nobel Prize. Chadwick's central role in the unfolding drama of nuclear physics is reflected in his publications and voluminous correspondence (many selections of which are included here) with other leading figures like Niels Bohr and Lord Rutherford. In the 1920s, Chadwick rose to become the operations director of the Cavendish Laboratory under Rutherford, and the discovery of the neutron came from an intense burst of work in 1930s, after a decade of disappointment. Chadwick's life was molded by great events, including both world wars (which carried him though internment camps and narrow escapes) and the development of the atom bomb. Indeed, during the Second World War, he was to become Britain's foremost authority on nuclear weaponry and chief British scientist on the Manhattan Project. His story thus offers unique insights into the behind-the-scenes activities of the U.S. and U.K. secret services and their quest for knowledge of German advances in the nuclear field. As an eye-witness account of some of the most dramatic discoveries and developments of the 20th century, Chadwick's biography is both gripping and insightful.
This volume describes and analyses the highly successful careerof the Dutch physicist and Nobel prize winner P.J.W. Debye (1884-1966) in the Third Reich. The book sketches the life of a man wholived for science, but at the same time maintained close contactswith influential officials, industrialists and sometimes even politicians.In this context Debye declined to respond in public to thetreatment of Jews in society in general and in science in particular,even after his migration to the United States in 1940. By combininga biographical perspective with network analysis and researchon contemporary moral assessments, this book sheds new anddisturbing light on Debyes socio-political worldview and hisinvolvement in the Aryanization of German science.
'Einstein's Generation' offers a new approach to the origins of modern physics by exploring both the material culture that stimulated relativity and the reaction of Einstein's colleagues to his pioneering work.
Takes into account the rise and fall of reputation and influence over the years and the epochal changes that have occurred: the demise of Marxism and the collapse of the Soviet Union; the rise and fall of postmodernism; the eruption of Islamic fundamentalism; and the triumph of the Internet.

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