Discoveries Great Breakthroughs in 20th-Century Science, Including the Original Papers

ISBN-10: 037571345X
ISBN-13: 9780375713453
Edition: N/A
Authors: Alan Lightman
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Description: An extraordinarily accessible, illuminating chronicle of the great moments of scientific discovery in the 20th century, and an exploration into the minds of the remarkable men and women behind them. We know and read the literary masterpieces; how  More...

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Book details

List price: $21.00
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/14/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 594
Size: 5.00" wide x 8.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.188
Language: English

An extraordinarily accessible, illuminating chronicle of the great moments of scientific discovery in the 20th century, and an exploration into the minds of the remarkable men and women behind them. We know and read the literary masterpieces; how many of us have had the opportunity not only to read but understand the masterpieces of science that describe the very moment of discovery? The last century has seen an explosion of creativity and insight that led to breakthroughs in every field of science: from the theory of relativity to the first quantum model of the atom to the mapping of the structure of DNA, these discoveries profoundly changed how we understand the world and our place in it. Alan Lightman tells the stories of two dozen breakthroughs made by such brilliant scientists as Einstein, Bohr, McClintock and Pauling, among others, drawing on his unique background as a scientist and novelist to reveal the process of scientific discovery at its greatest. He outlines the intellectual and emotional landscape of each discovery, portrays the personalities and human drama of the scientists involved, and explains the significance and impact of the work. Finally, he gives an unprecedented and exhilarating guided tour through each of the original papers.

Alan Lightman was born in Memphis, Tenn. in 1948. As a boy, he had what seemed like incompatible interests--writing poetry and building rockets. He eventually put his literary interests aside to concentrate on science. After completing an A.B. at Princeton University in 1970, a Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology in 1974, and postdoctoral studies at Cornell University in 1976, Lightman moved directly into academia, teaching astronomy and physics at Harvard, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In the 1980s, however, Lightman found a way to combine his literary and scientific interests when he began to write essays about science. He explored astronomy, cosmology, particle physics, space exploration, and the life of a scientist, writing about these topics in a way that makes them understandable to the average reader. Many of his essays can be found in the collections Time Travel and Papa Joe's Pipe and A Modern-Day Yankee in a Connecticut Court and Other Essays on Science. Alan Lightman is also the author of "Ancient Light: Our Changing View of the Universe", which won the Boston Globe's 1991 Critics' Choice award for non-fiction; and co-author of "Origins: The Lives and Worlds of Modern Cosmologists", which received an award from the Association of American Publishers in 1990. In the 1990's, Lightman branched out into fiction, although still with a focus on science, with the novels "Einstein's Dreams" and "Good Benito."

Introduction A Note on Numbers
The Quantum -"On the Theory of the Energy Distribution Law of the Normal Spectrum,"
Hormones -"The Mechanism of Pancreatic Secretion,"
The Particle Nature Of Light -"On a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light,"
Special Relativity -"On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,"
The Nucleus Of The Atom -"The Scattering of alpha and beta Particles by Matter and the Structure of the Atom,"
The Size Of The Cosmos -"Periods of 25 Variable Stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud,"
The Arrangement Of Atoms In Solid Matter -"Interference Phenomena with R�ntgen Rays,"
The Quantum Atom -"On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules,"
The Means of Communication Between Nerves -"On the Humoral Transmission of the Action of the Cardiac Nerve,"
The Uncertainty Principle -"On the Physical Content of Quantum Kinematics and Mechanics,"
The Chemical Bond -"The Shared-Electron Chemical Bond,"
The Expansion of the Universe -"A Relation Between Distance and Radial Velocity Among Extra-Galactic Nebulae,"
Antibiotics -"On the Antibacterial Action of Cultures of Penicillium, with Special Reference to Their Use in the Isolation of B. Influenzae,"
The Means of Production of Energy in Living Organisms -"The Role of Citric Acid in Intermediate Metabolism in Animal Tissues,"
Nuclear Fission -"Concerning the Existence of Alkaline Earth Metals Resulting from Neutron Irradiation of Uranium,"
The Movability Of Genes -"Mutable Loci in Maize,"
The Structure Of Dna -"Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids,"
The Structure of Proteins -"Structure of H�moglobin,"
Radio Waves from The Big Bang -"A Measurement of Excess Antenna Temperature at 4080 Mc/s,"
A Unified Theory of Forces -"A Model of Leptons,"
Quarks: a Tiniest Essence of Matter -"Observed Behavior of Highly Inelastic Electron-Proton Scattering,"

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