By Victor F. Weisskopf
This feature of essays covers a variety of topics attached with the actual sciences and their relation to human affairs. they're generally conceived and directed to a regularly viewers instead of to experts particularly parts. a few are written for the initiated, a few are extensive synopses of a department of physics and are directed to the scientifically layman. a few take care of extra philosophic questions similar to Niels Bohr's principles on complementarity, and others take care of the issues of technology, ethics, and society. Hans Bethe writes as follows within the Foreword: "His precis articles on detailed subject matters are lucid and are 'popular clinical writing' at its top. the topic is made transparent to physicists in different branches of physics and to the proficient public via simplifying it, yet with out ever creating a compromise with basic accuracy, as many well known writers on technological know-how do after they get enamored with their very own imagery and fail to remember the topic that they honestly are looking to clarify. Viki's [Weisskopf's] major hindrance, as of such a lot theoretical physicists, is the proper interpretation of the quantum theory.... This subject matter is already popular in 1951 in his article 'Quantity and caliber in Quantum Physics.' right here he makes transparent how a quantitative distinction, resembling the variety of electrons of 6 in a carbon and eleven in a sodium atom, makes all of the distinction within the qualitative habit of those chemical parts. He additionally foresees, at this early time, a few of the advancements in biology with regards to DNA. "The precis article approximately electron conception (1949) is written basically for physicists. He summarizes the good advances led to by way of the renormalization idea which provides finite effects for all observable amounts and is key to fashionable box conception. His personal box of nuclear physics is summarized in 'Problems of Nuclear constitution' (1961), in an easier shape in 'Nuclear types' (1951). Weisskopf is usually eager about very important advancements in physics whether he himself has now not contributed. an incredible the sort of [was defined in] the 'Fall of Parity.' this text is a gorgeous instance of his skill to make issues comprehensible with out altering the necessities. within the 'Visual visual appeal of speedily relocating items' he explains the invention of Penrose speedily relocating item seems to us because it if had its usual form and isn't distorted via the Lorentz contraction as had formerly been believed; in reality, with out relativity concept it'll glance badly distorted. His 'How mild Interacts with topic' is wealthy in new insights. "The subject is extra constructed in 'Physics within the 20th Century' and 'The Quantum Ladder.'... i do not recognize of the other position the place the basic solidity of our global as ruled by way of quantum thought is healthier defined, or the good richness of the phenomena because of quantitative alterations is proven with better love." as well as these pointed out above, the ebook contains a variety of different essays. those challenge actual idea (articles at the compound nucleus and on uncomplicated particles), the human facets of clinical learn (articles on Niels Bohr and on Marie Curie), and organic conception (considerations of symmetry and serve as on the macromolecular point and of the quantum foundation of natural reproduction). a last team of essays is worried with such concerns because the intrinsic worth of technological know-how, the contributions of technological know-how to society, and medical ethics. The latter is defined by way of Bethe as "A most lovely and concise assertion of the scientist's creed."
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Extra resources for Physics in the Twentieth Century: Selected Essays
Work was a complete misnomer. I was one of about 30 prisoners sent to Workshop One, a factory floor space in the basement of the prison. It took the best part of an hour to get there because of the frequent head counts, recounts and body searches applied to our working party as we progressed at a snail's pace through numerous locked gates and checkpoints towards our destination.
I thought of the massed ranks of reporters and cameramen who had been outside the Old Bailey and Belmarsh. By now my sentence would not have gone unnoticed by the British public. However, it had gone unnoticed by the psychiatrist. 'I think perhaps 10 or 15 million people know I'm in prison,' was my answer to him, delivered with a wry smile. The psychiatrist did not smile back. His eyes narrowed. ' he said slowly. ' It took a few moments of explanation to unscramble that one. Then I was taken back to the cage, where we were given a cup of tea which smelt and tasted like dishwater, followed by a plastic container of rice and curry with a flavour almost indistinguishable from the tea.
Resuming my seat on the edge of the bed, I felt a slight bulge in the pocket of my prison jeans. It was caused by the pamphlet Praying the Psalms that had been returned to me in the property department some hours earlier following a discussion between the two officers as to whether it was or was not religious material. Thumbing through its pages I saw that it was a calendar-style booklet of daily readings. For 8 June it recommended Psalm 130. I did not know what the title Praying the Psalms really meant, but as soon as I read Psalm 130 its words spoke to me.