A History of Physics in the Twentieth Century
By (author) Helge Kragh
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Quantum Generations by Helge Kragh
Book DescriptionAt the end of the nineteenth century, some physicists believed that the basic principles underlying their subject were already known, and that physics in the future would only consist of filling in the details. They could hardly have been more wrong. The past century has seen the rise of quantum mechanics, relativity, cosmology, particle physics, and solid-state physics, among other fields. These subjects have fundamentally changed our understanding of space, time, and matter. They have also transformed daily life, inspiring a technological revolution that has included the development of radio, television, lasers, nuclear power, and computers. In Quantum Generations, Helge Kragh, one of the world's leading historians of physics, presents a sweeping account of these extraordinary achievements of the past one hundred years. The first comprehensive one-volume history of twentieth-century physics, the book takes us from the discovery of X rays in the mid-1890s to superstring theory in the 1990s. Unlike most previous histories of physics, written either from a scientific perspective or from a social and institutional perspective, Quantum Generations combines both approaches. Kragh writes about pure science with the expertise of a trained physicist, while keeping the content accessible to nonspecialists and paying careful attention to practical uses of science, ranging from compact disks to bombs. As a historian, Kragh skillfully outlines the social and economic contexts that have shaped the field in the twentieth century. He writes, for example, about the impact of the two world wars, the fate of physics under Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, the role of military research, the emerging leadership of the United States, and the backlash against science that began in the 1960s. He also shows how the revolutionary discoveries of scientists ranging from Einstein, Planck, and Bohr to Stephen Hawking have been built on the great traditions of earlier centuries. Combining a mastery of detail with a sure sense of the broad contours of historical change, Kragh has written a fitting tribute to the scientists who have played such a decisive role in the making of the modern world.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691095523
(229mm x 152mm x 28mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 4-Mar-2002
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Helge Kragh
Early Responses to the Periodic System, Hardback (April 2015)
A collection of comparative studies on the reception, response, and appropriation of the periodic system of elements in eleven countries.
Higher Speculations, Paperback (March 2015)
A historical account of highly ambitious attempts to understand all of nature in terms of fundamental physics. Presenting old and new 'theories of everything' in their historical contexts, the book discusses the nature and limits of scientific explanation in connection with concrete case studies.
Masters of the Universe, Hardback (November 2014)
This book tells the fascinating history of cosmology using a series of fictitious interview transcripts with the field's leading scientists, including giants such as Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble, and George Gamow, to give the reader a lively and "almost authentic" impression of the problems that faced this early generation of cosmologists.
Niels Bohr and the Quantum Atom, Hardback (May 2012)» View all books by Helge Kragh
Niels Bohr and the Quantum Atom gives a comprehensive account of the birth, development, and decline of Bohr's atomic theory. It presents the theory in a broad context which includes not only its technical aspects, but also its reception, dissemination, and applications in both physics and chemistry.
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Author Biography - Helge Kragh
Helge Kragh is Professor of History of Science at Aarhus University, Denmark. His previous books include An introduction to the Historiography of Science, Dirac A Scientific Biography, and Cosmology and Controversy: The Historical Development of Two Theories of the Universe (Princeton).
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