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Cohesion: A Scientific History of Intermolecular Forces / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
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"Why does matter stick together? Why do gases condense to liquids, and liquids freeze to solids? This book provides a detailed historical account of how some of the leading scientists of the past three centuries have tried to answer these questions." "The topic of cohesion and the study of intermolecular forces has been an important component of physical science research for hundreds of years. This book is organised into four broad periods of advance in our understanding. The first three are associated with Newton, Laplace and van der Waals. The final section gives an account of the successful use in the 20th century of quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics to resolve most of the remaining problems." "Throughout the last 300 years there have been periods of tremendous growth in our understanding of intermolecular forces but such interest proved to be unsustainable, and long periods of stagnation usually followed. The causes of these fluctuations are also discussed." The book will be of primary interest to historians of science as well as physicists and physical chemists interested in the historical origins of our modern-day understanding of cohesion.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Rowlinson has crowned a distinguished research career by writing a detailed technical history of the field in which he has made so many important contributions...I cannot praise this book enough." William B. Jensen, University of Cincinnati

"An intricate and intriguing saga...The book admirably fulfills its stated aim of serving historians of science and also physicists or physical chemists curious about the roots of modern approaches to intermolecular forces...Students of molecular science (and their teachers!) would do well to consult Rowlinson's book to see how discussions of topics such as capillarity, surface tension of liquids, elasticity of solids, and gas imperfection gain uncommon clarity from historical perspective, which brings out underlying assumptions and perplexing aspects often obscured in current texts. Those concerned about science literacy—either for the general public or for the coming generation of professionals—will find much material useful for seasoning their sermons." Physics Today

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521810081
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 342
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir John Rowlinson is Dr Lee's Professor of Chemistry Emeritus in the department of chemistry at the University of Oxford.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction and summary 1
2 Newton 8
3 Laplace 83
4 Van der Waals 141
5 Resolution 234
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