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.
Serving the Reich tells the story of physics under Hitler. While some scientists tried to create an Aryan physics that excluded any ‘Jewish ideas’, many others made compromises and concessions as they continued to work under the Nazi regime. Among them were world-renowned physicists Max Planck, Peter Debye and Werner Heisenberg. After the war most scientists in Germany maintained they had been apolitical or even resisted the regime: Debye claimed that he had gone to America in 1940 to escape Nazi interference in his research; Heisenberg and others argued that they had deliberately delayed production of the atomic bomb. In a gripping exploration of moral choices under a totalitarian regime, here are human dilemmas, failures to take responsibility and three lives caught between the idealistic goals of science and a tyrannical ideology.
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.
"More than a history of science; it is a tour de force in the genre."—New York Times Book Review A dramatic new account of the parallel quests to harness time that culminated in the revolutionary science of relativity, Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps is "part history, part science, part adventure, part biography, part meditation on the meaning of modernity....In Galison's telling of science, the meters and wires and epoxy and solder come alive as characters, along with physicists, engineers, technicians and others....Galison has unearthed fascinating material" (New York Times). Clocks and trains, telegraphs and colonial conquest: the challenges of the late nineteenth century were an indispensable real-world background to the enormous theoretical breakthrough of relativity. And two giants at the foundations of modern science were converging, step-by-step, on the answer: Albert Einstein, an young, obscure German physicist experimenting with measuring time using telegraph networks and with the coordination of clocks at train stations; and the renowned mathematician Henri Poincaré, president of the French Bureau of Longitude, mapping time coordinates across continents. Each found that to understand the newly global world, he had to determine whether there existed a pure time in which simultaneity was absolute or whether time was relative. Esteemed historian of science Peter Galison has culled new information from rarely seen photographs, forgotten patents, and unexplored archives to tell the fascinating story of two scientists whose concrete, professional preoccupations engaged them in a silent race toward a theory that would conquer the empire of time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Anlaalich des 60. Geburtstages des Berliner Wissenschafts- und Universitatshistorikers Ruediger vom Bruch versammelt dieser Band 20 Beitrage, zumeist auf der Grundlage neuartiger Forschungen verfaat von Schuelern, Kollegen und anderen Weggefahrten. Sie reflektieren das breite Spektrum von Interessen, Methoden und Themen, die dem Geehrten am Herzen liegen. Mit einem Schwerpunkt auf dem 19. und 20. Jahrhundert vereint die Festschrift biographische Fallstudien zu ausgewahlten Geistes- und Naturwissenschaftlern, Beitrage zu wissenschaftlichen Disziplinen und Institutionen sowie zur Kulturgeschichte des deutschen Buergertums, seiner politischen Reprasentation, seinem Verhalten in Krisenzeiten und seiner Selbstdefinition ueber aBildungo.