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The Recollections Of Eugene P Wigner

Author: Andrew Szanton
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780738208862
Size: 36.40 MB
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One of the greatest physicists of the 20th century recounts his journey from Hungary and the Nazi invasion to the creation of the first atomic bomb.

Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac

Author: Behram N. Kursunoglu
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521386883
Size: 47.17 MB
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In this memorial volume, twenty-four of Dirac's closest friends, colleagues and contemporaries remember him with affection. Dirac, who died in 1984, was unquestionably one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century. The book describes his human side, with many anecdotes about the man with a reputation for silence. His immense influence on modern physics is surveyed in chapters written by eminent scientists. Dirac was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933 at the age of thiry-one. His tremendous contributions to the field included his prediction of the magnetic moment and antiparticles as well as the spin of the electron. His formulations of the quantum field theory, statistics of particles and fields, his work on gravitational waves, and his prediction of magnetic monopoles stand as monuments to his originality and deep understanding of natural phenomena. This book will appeal to anyone interested in the development of quantum theory or in Paul Dirac.

Great Escape

Author: Kati Marton
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 074326116X
Size: 75.15 MB
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Traces the early twentieth century journey of nine prominent men from Budapest who fled fascism to seek sanctuary in America, where they made pivotal contributions to science, film, and photojournalism.

Loving And Hating Mathematics

Author: Reuben Hersh
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400836116
Size: 42.88 MB
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Mathematics is often thought of as the coldest expression of pure reason. But few subjects provoke hotter emotions--and inspire more love and hatred--than mathematics. And although math is frequently idealized as floating above the messiness of human life, its story is nothing if not human; often, it is all too human. Loving and Hating Mathematics is about the hidden human, emotional, and social forces that shape mathematics and affect the experiences of students and mathematicians. Written in a lively, accessible style, and filled with gripping stories and anecdotes, Loving and Hating Mathematics brings home the intense pleasures and pains of mathematical life. These stories challenge many myths, including the notions that mathematics is a solitary pursuit and a "young man's game," the belief that mathematicians are emotionally different from other people, and even the idea that to be a great mathematician it helps to be a little bit crazy. Reuben Hersh and Vera John-Steiner tell stories of lives in math from their very beginnings through old age, including accounts of teaching and mentoring, friendships and rivalries, love affairs and marriages, and the experiences of women and minorities in a field that has traditionally been unfriendly to both. Included here are also stories of people for whom mathematics has been an immense solace during times of crisis, war, and even imprisonment--as well as of those rare individuals driven to insanity and even murder by an obsession with math. This is a book for anyone who wants to understand why the most rational of human endeavors is at the same time one of the most emotional.

The Martians Of Science

Author: István Hargittai
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195365569
Size: 52.72 MB
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If science has the equivalent of a Bloomsbury group, it is the five men born at the turn of the twentieth century in Budapest: Theodore von Karman, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, John von Neumann, and Edward Teller. From Hungary to Germany to the United States, they remained friends and continued to work together and influence each other throughout their lives. As a result, their work was integral to some of the most important scientific and political developments of the twentieth century.Istvan Hargittai tells the story of this remarkable group: Wigner won a Nobel Prize in theoretical physics; Szilard was the first to see that a chain reaction based on neutrons was possible, initiated the Manhattan Project, but left physics to try to restrict nuclear arms; von Neumann could solve difficult problems in his head and developed the modern computer for more complex problems; von Karman became the first director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, providing the scientific basis for the U.S. Air Force; and Teller was the father of the hydrogen bomb, whose name is now synonymous with the controversial "Star Wars" initiative of the 1980s. Each was fiercely opinionated, politically active, and fought against all forms of totalitarianism. Hargittai, as a young Hungarian physical chemist, was able to get to know some of these great men in their later years, and the depth of information and human interest in The Martians of Science is the result of his personal relationships with the subjects, their families, and their contemporaries. "This is an important story that needs to be told, and Hargittai tells it well." - Nature "What a story! Hargittai, a Jewish-Hungarian like his heroes, tells the remarkable story of five immigrants, of vastly different politics, without whom American science (and the world) would not be the same." - Roald Hoffmann, Nobel laureate, Cornell University

Genius In The Shadows

Author: William Lanouette
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 1628734779
Size: 11.72 MB
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Well-known names such as Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Edward Teller are usually those that surround the creation of the atom bomb. One name that is rarely mentioned is Leo Szilard, known in scientific circles as “father of the atom bomb.” The man who first developed the idea of harnessing energy from nuclear chain reactions, he is curiously buried with barely a trace in the history of this well-known and controversial topic. Born in Hungary and educated in Berlin, he escaped Hitler’s Germany in 1933 and that first year developed his concept of nuclear chain reactions. In order to prevent Nazi scientists from stealing his ideas, he kept his theories secret, until he and Albert Einstein pressed the US government to research atomic reactions and designed the first nuclear reactor. Though he started his career out lobbying for civilian control of atomic energy, he concluded it with founding, in 1962, the first political action committee for arms control, the Council for a Livable World. Besides his career in atomic energy, he also studied biology and sparked ideas that won others the Nobel Prize. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, where Szilard spent his final days, was developed from his concepts to blend science and social issues.

The Quantum Story

Author: J. E. Baggott
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199566844
Size: 32.46 MB
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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.

Prematurity In Scientific Discovery

Author: Ernest B. Hook
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520231061
Size: 63.22 MB
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"In preparing this remarkable book, Ernest Hook persuaded an eminent group of scientists, historians, sociologists and philosophers to focus on the problem: why are some discoveries rejected at a particular time but later seen to be valid? The interaction of these experts did not produce agreement on 'prematurity' in science but something more valuable: a collection of fascinating papers, many of them based on new research and analysis, which sometimes forced the author to revise a previously-held opinion. The book should be enthusiastically welcomed by all readers who are interested in how science works."—Stephen G. Brush, co-author of Physics, The Human Adventure: From copernicus to Einstein and Beyond "Prematurity and Scientific Discovery contains interesting and insightful papers by numerous well-known scientists and scholars. It will be of wide interest, not only to science studies scholars but also to working scientists and to science-literate general readers."—Thomas Nickles, editor of Scientific Discovery, Logic, and Rationality