Read e-book online A Short History of Physics in the American Century PDF

By David C. Cassidy

ISBN-10: 0674049365

ISBN-13: 9780674049369

Because the 20th century drew to an in depth, desktops, the net, and nanotechnology have been significant to fashionable American existence. but the advances in physics underlying those purposes are poorly understood and generally underappreciated via U.S. voters at the present time. during this concise review, David C. Cassidy sharpens our standpoint on sleek physics through viewing this foundational technology in the course of the lens of America’s engagement with the political occasions of a tumultuous century.American physics first stirred within the 1890s—around the time x-rays and radioactivity have been came across in Germany—with the founding of graduate colleges at the German version. but American learn lagged at the back of the good ecu laboratories till powerful household regulations, including the exodus of physicists from fascist international locations, introduced the country into the 1st ranks of worldwide examine within the Thirties. The construction of the atomic bomb and radar in the course of global warfare II ensured lavish govt help for particle physics, in addition to computation, solid-state physics, and armed forces verbal exchange. those advances facilitated house exploration and ended in the worldwide enlargement of the Internet.Well into the Nineteen Sixties, physicists strengthened the USA’ overseas prestige, and the country repaid the want via sizeable outlays of federal, army, and philanthropic investment. yet steadily the US relinquished its postwar dedication to medical management, and the kingdom chanced on itself suffering to keep up a aggressive aspect in technological know-how schooling and study. at the present time, American physicists, depending totally on commercial investment, needs to compete with smaller, scrappier countries reason on writing their very own short heritage of physics within the twenty-first century.

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Extra info for A Short History of Physics in the American Century

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By the early 1930s these institutions were among the top twenty research universities in the country, and they were producing work that drew increasing international attention. 25 They are still among the nation’s top research universities in physics and other sciences. In order to cultivate a new generation of physicists equipped to work at the rarefied level of the peak universities and especially in theoretical physics, as early as 1919 Millikan and his managers began funneling Rockefeller funds into postdoctoral research fellowships granted to roughly the top 15 percent of graduates in physics (followed later by chemistry, medicine, and biology).

Perhaps because he was in competition with Heisenberg over which of the two versions of quantum mechanics was preferable (they were soon proved equivalent), Schrödinger thought it valuable in 1926 to publish an English account of his new theory in the Physical Review for American readers. 31 Altogether, the components of the American strategy—inviting foreign specialists as lecturers and professors, funding the best American postdoctoral researchers to work at the best American universities, sending top young physicists abroad to learn the new physics at the source, and funneling philanthropic funds into building up research programs at the best universities to even higher quality—began to have an accelerating effect.

Kramers, and Harvard physicist John Slater in an effort to avoid the problematic existence of light quanta. 30 In 1927 Compton received the Nobel Prize for his work. Following Heisenberg’s breakthrough to the matrix version of quantum mechanics in 1925 and Schrödinger’s alternative wave mechanics in 1926, American physicists jumped into quantum research, producing valuable applications of the new physics and becoming an audience the Eu ropeans could not longer ignore. Perhaps because he was in competition with Heisenberg over which of the two versions of quantum mechanics was preferable (they were soon proved equivalent), Schrödinger thought it valuable in 1926 to publish an English account of his new theory in the Physical Review for American readers.

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A Short History of Physics in the American Century by David C. Cassidy


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