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A Short History of Physics in the American Century
     

A Short History of Physics in the American Century

by David C. Cassidy
 

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As the twentieth century ended, computers, the Internet, and nanotechnology were central to modern American life. Yet the physical advances underlying these applications are poorly understood and underappreciated by U.S. citizens. In this overview, Cassidy views physics through America’s engagement with the political events of a tumultuous century.

Overview

As the twentieth century ended, computers, the Internet, and nanotechnology were central to modern American life. Yet the physical advances underlying these applications are poorly understood and underappreciated by U.S. citizens. In this overview, Cassidy views physics through America’s engagement with the political events of a tumultuous century.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

This is a must read for physics students and indeed anyone who wants to understand the development of the American physics enterprise and the interlocking roles of universities, private laboratories, and the federal government.
— A. Spero

Physics Today

A Short History of Physics in the American Century by David Cassidy presents a brisk but excellent institutional and political history of the discipline, ornamented by lucid descriptions of physics concepts and discoveries...[It] deserves a wide audience, including physicists curious about their discipline's prominent role in modern U.S. history...A snappy and enjoyable read.
— Benjamin Wilson

J. L. Heilbron
David Cassidy tells a big story in a short book written for anyone interested in the place of science in American society. American physics began to stir at the end of the 19th century and rose to world hegemony by the beginning of World War II. The creation of the atomic bomb, the Cold War, and the consequent lavish support for physics meant that American dominance endured until the last decades of the 20th century. Cassidy stresses the perennial opposition between pure and applied physics, the gigantizing of science dependent on the federal purse, the transition from powerful science administrators to functionaries, globalization, and the relative marginalization of women. His conclusion on the rise of solid-state physics, computing, and the Internet brings this dramatic story to a dramatic close.
Spencer Weart
The real history of America in the twentieth century was shaped by the obscure struggles of physicists: from the electrification of the nation, to the nuclear standoff of the Cold War, to the information revolution, the lives of Americans have been affected in fundamental ways by the achievements of the physics community. Cassidy tells this essential story with brevity and style, filling a major gap in modern historiography.
Choice - A. Spero
This is a must read for physics students and indeed anyone who wants to understand the development of the American physics enterprise and the interlocking roles of universities, private laboratories, and the federal government.
Physics Today - Benjamin Wilson
A Short History of Physics in the American Century by David Cassidy presents a brisk but excellent institutional and political history of the discipline, ornamented by lucid descriptions of physics concepts and discoveries...[It] deserves a wide audience, including physicists curious about their discipline's prominent role in modern U.S. history...A snappy and enjoyable read.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674062740
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
10/24/2011
Series:
New histories of science, technology, and medicine
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
220
Sales rank:
804,864
File size:
516 KB

What People are Saying About This

Spencer Weart
The real history of America in the twentieth century was shaped by the obscure struggles of physicists: from the electrification of the nation, to the nuclear standoff of the Cold War, to the information revolution, the lives of Americans have been affected in fundamental ways by the achievements of the physics community. Cassidy tells this essential story with brevity and style, filling a major gap in modern historiography.
Spencer Weart, AIP Center for History of Physics
J. L. Heilbron
David Cassidy tells a big story in a short book written for anyone interested in the place of science in American society. American physics began to stir at the end of the 19th century and rose to world hegemony by the beginning of World War II. The creation of the atomic bomb, the Cold War, and the consequent lavish support for physics meant that American dominance endured until the last decades of the 20th century. Cassidy stresses the perennial opposition between pure and applied physics, the gigantizing of science dependent on the federal purse, the transition from powerful science administrators to functionaries, globalization, and the relative marginalization of women. His conclusion on the rise of solid-state physics, computing, and the Internet brings this dramatic story to a dramatic close.
J. L. Heilbron, author of Galileo

Meet the Author

David C. Cassidy is Professor of Natural Sciences at Hofstra University.

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