Edited by James W. Cronin University of Chicago Press, 2004 Library of Congress QC16.F46F49 2004 | Dewey Decimal 539.7092
Nobel laureate and scientific luminary Enrico Fermi (1901-54) was a pioneering nuclear physicist whose contributions to the field were numerous, profound, and lasting. Best known for his involvement with the Manhattan Project and his work at Los Alamos that led to the first self-sustained nuclear reaction and ultimately to the production of electric power and plutonium for atomic weapons, Fermi's legacy continues to color the character of the sciences at the University of Chicago. During his tenure as professor of physics at the Institute for Nuclear Studies, Fermi attracted an extraordinary scientific faculty and many talented students—ten Nobel Prizes were awarded to faculty or students under his tutelage.
Born out of a symposium held to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Fermi's birth, Fermi Remembered combines essays and newly commissioned reminiscences with private material from Fermi's research notebooks, correspondence, speech outlines, and teaching to document the profound and enduring significance of Fermi's life and labors. The volume also features extensives archival material—including correspondence between Fermi and biophysicist Leo Szilard and a letter from Harry Truman—with new introductions that provide context for both the history of physics and the academic tradition at the University of Chicago.
Edited by James W. Cronin, a University of Chicago physicist and Nobel laureate himself, Fermi Remembered is a tender tribute to one of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century.
Geoffrey F. Chew
James W. Cronin
George W. Farwell
Jerome I. Friedman
Richard L. Garwin
Marvin L. Goldberger
Tsung Dao Lee
Marshall N. Rosenbluth
Chen Ning Yang
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, located in the western suburbs of Chicago, has stood at the frontier of high-energy physics for forty years. Fermilab is the first history of this laboratory and of its powerful accelerators told from the point of view of the people who built and used them for scientific discovery.
Focusing on the first two decades of research at Fermilab, during the tenure of the laboratory’s charismatic first two directors, Robert R. Wilson and Leon M. Lederman, the book traces the rise of what they call “megascience,” the collaborative struggle to conduct large-scale international experiments in a climate of limited federal funding. In the midst of this new climate, Fermilab illuminates the growth of the modern research laboratory during the Cold War and captures the drama of human exploration at the cutting edge of science.
Popular science readers embrace epics—the sweeping stories that claim to tell the history of all the universe, from the cosmological to the biological to the social. And the appeal is understandable: in writing these works, authors such as E. O. Wilson or Steven Weinberg deliberately seek to move beyond particular disciplines, to create a compelling story weaving together natural historical events, scientific endeavor, human discovery, and contemporary existential concerns.
In AFinal Story, Nasser Zakariya delves into the origins and ambitions of these scientific epics, from the nineteenth century to the present, to see what they reveal about the relationship between storytelling, integrated scientific knowledge, and historical method. While seeking to transcend the perspectives of their own eras, the authors of the epics and the debates surrounding them are embedded in political and social struggles of their own times, struggles to which the epics in turn respond. In attempts to narrate an approach to a final, true account, these synthesizing efforts shape and orient scientific developments old and new. By looking closely at the composition of science epics and the related genres developed along with them, we are able to view the historical narrative of science as a form of knowledge itself, one that discloses much about the development of our understanding of and relationship to science over time.
Have you ever wondered what is the most distant source of light we can see, or how a star shines? Did you know that black holes can blaze like cosmic beacons across intergalactic space, and that ancient radio waves might herald the ignition of the very first stars? Have you ever thought about what light really is? Five Photons explains what we know about the universe through five different journeys of light across space and time. They are tales of quantum physics and general relativity, stars and black holes, dark matter and dark energy. Let yourself be swept away on a journey of discovery towards a deeper understanding of the cosmos.
Long before scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland cloned Dolly the sheep in 1996, American embryologist and aspiring cancer researcher Robert Briggs successfully developed the technique of nuclear transplantation using frogs in 1952. Although the history of cloning is often associated with contemporary ethical controversies, Forgotten Clones revisits the influential work of scientists like Briggs, Thomas King, and Marie DiBerardino, before the possibility of human cloning and its ethical implications first registered as a concern in public consciousness, and when many thought the very idea of cloning was experimentally impossible. By focusing instead on new laboratory techniques and practices and their place in Anglo-American science and society in the mid-twentieth century, Nathan Crowe demonstrates how embryos constructed in the lab were only later reconstructed as ethical problems in the 1960s and 1970s with the emergence of what was then referred to as the Biological Revolution. His book illuminates the importance of the early history of cloning for the biosciences and their institutional, disciplinary, and intellectual contexts, as well as providing new insights into the changing cultural perceptions of the biological sciences after Second World War.
Foundations of Environmental Physics is designed to focus students on the current energy and environmental problems facing society, and to give them the critical thinking and computational skills needed to sort out potential solutions. From its pedagogical approach, students learn that a simple calculation based on first principles can often reveal the plausibility (or implausibility) of a proposed solution or new technology.
Throughout its chapters, the text asks students to apply key concepts to current data (which they are required to locate using the Internet and other sources) to get a clearer picture of the most pressing issues in environmental science. The text begins by exploring how changes in world population impact all aspects of the environment, particularly with respect to energy use. It then discusses what the first and second laws of thermodynamics tell us about renewable and nonrenewable energy; how current energy use is changing the global climate; and how alternative technologies can be evaluated through scientific risk assessment. In approaching real-world problems, students come to understand the physical principles that underlie scientific findings.
This informative and engaging textbook offers what prospective scientists, managers, and policymakers need most: the knowledge to understand environmental threats and the skills to find solutions.
Written by one of today’s most highly respected astrophysicists, Foundations of High-Energy Astrophysics is an introduction to the mathematical and physical techniques used in the study of high-energy astrophysics. Here, Mario Vietri approaches the basics of high-energy astrophysics with an emphasis on underlying physical processes as opposed to a more mathematical approach. Alongside more traditional topics, Vietri presents new subjects increasingly considered crucial to understanding high-energy astrophysical sources, including the electrodynamics of cosmic sources, new developments in the theory of standard accretion disks, and the physics of coronae, thick disks, and accretion onto magnetized objects.
The most thorough and engaging survey of high-energy astrophysics available today, Foundations of High-Energy Astrophysics introduces the main physical processes relevant to the field in a rigorous yet accessible way, while paying careful attention to observational issues. Vietri’s book will quickly become a classic text for students and active researchers in astronomy and astrophysics. Those in adjoining fields will also find it a valuable addition to their personal libraries.
Science is about 6000 years old while physics emerged as a distinct branch some 2500 years ago. As scientists discovered virtually countless facts about the world during this great span of time, the manner in which they explained the underlying structure of that world underwent a philosophical evolution. From Clockwork to Crapshoot provides the perspective needed to understand contemporary developments in physics in relation to philosophical traditions as far back as ancient Greece.
Roger Newton, whose previous works have been widely praised for erudition and accessibility, presents a history of physics from the early beginning to our day--with the associated mathematics, astronomy, and chemistry. Along the way, he gives brief explanations of the scientific concepts at issue, biographical thumbnail sketches of the protagonists, and descriptions of the changing instruments that enabled scientists to make their discoveries. He traces a profound change from a deterministic explanation of the world--accepted at least since the time of the ancient Greek and Taoist Chinese civilizations--to the notion of probability, enshrined as the very basis of science with the quantum revolution at the beginning of the twentieth century. With this change, Newton finds another fundamental shift in the focus of physicists--from the cause of dynamics or motion to the basic structure of the world. His work identifies what may well be the defining characteristic of physics in the twenty-first century.
The first comprehensive philosophical and historical account of the experimental foundations of Niels Bohr’s practice of physics.
Niels Bohr was a central figure in quantum physics, well known for his work on atomic structure and his contributions to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. In this book, philosopher of science Slobodan Perović explores the way Bohr practiced and understood physics, and analyzes its implications for our understanding of modern science. Perović develops a novel approach to Bohr’s understanding of physics and his method of inquiry, presenting an exploratory symbiosis of historical and philosophical analysis that uncovers the key aspects of Bohr’s philosophical vision of physics within a given historical context.
To better understand the methods that produced Bohr’s breakthrough results in quantum phenomena, Perović clarifies the nature of Bohr’s engagement with the experimental side of physics and lays out the basic distinctions and concepts that characterize his approach. Rich and insightful, Perović’s take on the early history of quantum mechanics and its methodological ramifications sheds vital new light on one of the key figures of modern physics.
In the history of science, only three hundred years separate the discoveries of Galileo and Albert Einstein. Recent science has brought us relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and elementary particle physics-in a radical and mercurial departure from earlier developments. In this collection of essays, four philosophers and one physicist consider the interactions of mathematics and physics with logic and philosophy in the rapidly changing environment of modern science.
From its inception in Greek antiquity, the science of optics was aimed primarily at explaining sight and accounting for why things look as they do. By the end of the seventeenth century, however, the analytic focus of optics had shifted to light: its fundamental properties and such physical behaviors as reflection, refraction, and diffraction. This dramatic shift—which A. Mark Smith characterizes as the “Keplerian turn”—lies at the heart of this fascinating and pioneering study.
Breaking from previous scholarship that sees Johannes Kepler as the culmination of a long-evolving optical tradition that traced back to Greek antiquity via the Muslim Middle Ages, Smith presents Kepler instead as marking a rupture with this tradition, arguing that his theory of retinal imaging, which was published in 1604, was instrumental in prompting the turn from sight to light. Kepler’s new theory of sight, Smith reveals, thus takes on true historical significance: by treating the eye as a mere light-focusing device rather than an image-producing instrument—as traditionally understood—Kepler’s account of retinal imaging helped spur the shift in analytic focus that eventually led to modern optics.
A sweeping survey, From Sight to Light is poised to become the standard reference for historians of optics as well as those interested more broadly in the history of science, the history of art, and cultural and intellectual history.
From White Dwarfs to Black Holes chronicles the extraordinarily productive scientific career of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, one of the twentieth century's most distinguished astrophysicists. Among Chandrasekhar's many discoveries were the critical mass that makes a star too massive to become a white dwarf and the mathematical theory of black holes. In 1983 he shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for these and other achievements.
Over the course of more than six decades of active research Chandrasekhar investigated a dizzying array of subjects. G. Srinivasan notes in the preface to this book that "the range of Chandra's contributions is so vast that no one person in the physics or astronomy community can undertake the task of commenting on his achievements." Thus, in this collection, ten eminent scientists evaluate Chandrasekhar's contributions to their own fields of specialization. Donald E. Osterbrock closes the volume with a historical discussion of Chandrasekhar's interactions with graduate students during his more than quarter century at Yerkes Observatory.
Contributors are James Binney, John L. Friedman, Norman R. Lebovitz, Donald E. Osterbrock, E. N. Parker, Roger Penrose, A. R. P. Rau, George B. Rybicki, E. E. Salpeter, Bernard F. Schutz, and G. Srinivasan.