Heisenberg Probably Slept Here: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Physicists of the 20th Century / Edition 1

Heisenberg Probably Slept Here: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Physicists of the 20th Century / Edition 1

by Richard P. Brennan
     
 

ISBN-10: 0471157090

ISBN-13: 9780471157090

Pub. Date: 12/23/1996

Publisher: Wiley

They were men of extraordinary vision, curiosity, passion, and determination. Very simply, they changed the way we saw the world. "They are, in short," says author Richard P. Brennan, "those individuals who led us, sometimes reluctantly, to the continuity of ideas, observations, speculations, and syntheses that constitute the body of knowledge we now call modern

Overview

They were men of extraordinary vision, curiosity, passion, and determination. Very simply, they changed the way we saw the world. "They are, in short," says author Richard P. Brennan, "those individuals who led us, sometimes reluctantly, to the continuity of ideas, observations, speculations, and syntheses that constitute the body of knowledge we now call modern physics." But who were these men? What drove them? What were they like as individuals? Where did their brilliant insights come from? And how did those insights transform our understanding of the world? To answer these questions, Brennan, the acclaimed author of Levitating Trains and Kamikaze Genes, leads us on an exhilarating tour of the lives and ideas of the seven physicists whose work most profoundly shaped physics in the twentieth century. The result is a compelling portrait of "the unique human qualities of each of these scientists, what made them so outstanding and makes each of their stories so fascinating." Brennan begins with an illuminating refresher on Isaac Newton, whose legendary achievements in the seventeenth century established the clockwork view of the physical world that his twentieth-century counterparts would so profoundly alter. Only with an appreciation of the work of Newton, who famously demurred that he stood on the shoulders of giants, can we grasp the revolutionary nature of the work of the giants who followed him: Albert Einstein, whose special and general theories of relativity shook the foundations of all of science; Max Planck, the soft-spoken professor who became "The Father of Quantum Physics"; Ernest Rutherford, the walrus-mustachioed, booming-voiced experimentalist whose pioneering work ushered in the age of nuclear physics; Niels Bohr, who created the first accurate model of the atom and joined the Manhattan Project after fleeing the Nazis; Werner Heisenberg, the brilliant, controversial figure who introduced the landmark Uncertainty Principle; Richard Feynman, the witty, unpretentious "half-genius, half-buffoon" whose space-time diagrams revolutionized quantum electrodynamics; Murray Gell-Mann, the theoretical physicist whose search for the fundamental building blocks of all matter led to his signature "eight-fold way" and the quark hypothesis. With carefully distilled discussions of each scientist's discoveries, Heisenberg Probably Slept Here is as informative as it is entertaining. From the tiny Zurich patent office where Einstein wrote the Theory of Relativity, to the smoky Greenwich Village coffeehouses where Richard Feynman held forth while keeping time on the bongos, Richard Brennan's multifaceted book brings the world of modern physics-and its pioneer practitioners-vividly to life.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471157090
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
12/23/1996
Series:
Wiley Popular Science Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
0.75(w) x 6.14(h) x 9.21(d)

Table of Contents

Isaac Newton.
Albert Einstein.
Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck.
Ernest Rutherford.
Niels Henrik David Bohr.
Werner Karl Heisenberg.
Richard Phillips Feynman.
Murray Gell-Mann.
Epilogue: The Why of Physics.
Chronology of Physics.
Glossary.
Bibliography.
Index.

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