Download Physics in the twentieth century: Selected essays by Victor F. Weisskopf PDF

By Victor F. Weisskopf

This feature of essays covers quite a lot of topics hooked up with the actual sciences and their relation to human affairs. they're largely conceived and directed to a typically viewers instead of to experts specifically parts. a few are written for the initiated, a few are vast synopses of a department of physics and are directed to the scientifically layman. a few take care of extra philosophic questions corresponding to Niels Bohr's rules on complementarity, and others care for the issues of technology, ethics, and society.

Hans Bethe writes as follows within the Foreword:

"His precis articles on precise themes are lucid and are 'popular medical writing' at its top. the topic is made transparent to physicists in different branches of physics and to the proficient public by way of simplifying it, yet with no ever creating a compromise with basic accuracy, as many well known writers on technological know-how do once they get enamored with their very own imagery and omit the topic that they truly are looking to explain.

Viki's [Weisskopf's] major hindrance, as of so much theoretical physicists, is the right kind interpretation of the quantum theory.... This subject matter is already renowned in 1951 in his article 'Quantity and caliber in Quantum Physics.' the following he makes transparent how a quantitative distinction, reminiscent of the variety of electrons of 6 in a carbon and eleven in a sodium atom, makes the entire distinction within the qualitative habit of those chemical parts. He additionally foresees, at this early time, many of the advancements in biology concerning DNA.

"The precis article approximately electron concept (1949) is written basically for physicists. He summarizes the nice advances caused via the renormalization idea which supplies finite effects for all observable amounts and is key to trendy box conception. His personal box of nuclear physics is summarized in 'Problems of Nuclear constitution' (1961), in a less complicated shape in 'Nuclear versions' (1951). Weisskopf is usually interested by vital advancements in physics no matter if he himself has no longer contributed. an immense this type of [was defined in] the 'Fall of Parity.' this text is a gorgeous instance of his skill to make issues comprehensible with no altering the necessities. within the 'Visual visual appeal of swiftly relocating items' he explains the invention of Penrose speedily relocating item appears to us because it if had its common form and isn't distorted through the Lorentz contraction as had formerly been believed; in reality, with out relativity conception it should glance badly distorted. His 'How gentle Interacts with subject' is wealthy in new insights.

"The subject matter is extra constructed in 'Physics within the 20th Century' and 'The Quantum Ladder.'... i do not be aware of of the other position the place the fundamental solidity of our global as ruled through quantum concept is best defined, or the good richness of the phenomena brought on by quantitative adjustments is proven with better love."

as well as these pointed out above, the e-book encompasses a variety of different essays. those quandary actual thought (articles at the compound nucleus and on straight forward particles), the human features of medical examine (articles on Niels Bohr and on Marie Curie), and organic idea (considerations of symmetry and serve as on the macromolecular point and of the quantum foundation of natural reproduction). a last staff of essays is anxious with such concerns because the intrinsic price of technological know-how, the contributions of technology to society, and medical ethics. The latter is defined by means of Bethe as "A most pretty and concise assertion of the scientist's creed."

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Maybe she was going to have an abortion and her sister or her conscience talked her out of it. Maybe her lover did. Maybe she believed he would leave his wife and his ‘empty-shell’ marriage, as I was later told it was, and come over to take care of her and her baby in London. Or maybe she was going to have me no matter what. Fate made the decision for them in the end. A telegram arrived, two weeks before I was due to be born. It was from her father. And it ruined everything. Her mother had suffered a serious stroke and the outlook wasn’t good.

I tried to do everything right and to sit still, and at the end I think we ‘passed’ because he shook Mummy’s hand when he left and patted me on the head. After he’d gone Mummy looked tired and smoked a lot. I swivelled my eyes over to the biscuits still on the plate. ‘Looking down his nose at us,’ she sniffed. ’ Mummy looked sad and I felt shivery, wondering if it was anything to do with me. In my head I saw the man’s buckteeth again and looked at the hard cream sandwiched between the biscuits.

Pretending to feel nothing. Huddling around Mummy after one of the worst fights one night, the TV screen kicked in and glass all over the purple carpet, we planned how we’d get rid of him: a drop of arsenic in his vodka, a sprinkling of rat poison in his stew, a pillow over his face while he slept, or his skull smashed in with one of the girls’ heavy, brass lion money-boxes that stood empty either side of the fire surround. We passed one around solemnly, lifting it above our heads, bouncing it up and down on our small, clammy palms, coldly assessing its effectiveness as we demonstrated our love to Mummy through what we were prepared to do.

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