Inward Bound: Of Matter and Forces in the Physical World

Inward Bound: Of Matter and Forces in the Physical World

By: Abraham Pais (author)Paperback

More than 4 weeks availability


The history of physics since the discovery of X-rays would be too simplistic a description of this book. Certainly it covers the historical period from the late nineteenth century to the present day, but the book attempts to relate not only what has happened over the last hundred years or so, but why it happened the way it did, what it was like for those scientists involved, and how what, at the time, seemed a series of bizarre or unrelated events, now with hindsight presents a logical narrative. The author, himself a notable physicist and author of the highly successful Subtle is the Lord (Clarendon Press 1982), was personally involved in many of the developments described in the book. As with his previous book, unique insights into the world of big and small physics are to be gained from this major work.

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About Author

Abraham Pais is Detlev W. Bronk Professor of Physics at the Rockefeller University and winner of the 1979 J.R. Oppenheimer Memorial Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Council on Foreign Relations.


Purpose and plan; PART I: 1895-1945: A HISTORY; The new rays; From uranic rays to radioactivity; The first particle; Interlude: earliest physiological discoveries; Radioactivity's three early puzzles; Pitfalls of simplicity; ss-spectra 1907-1914; Atomic structure and spectral lines; 'It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity'; Nuclear physics' tender age; Quantum mechanics, an essay; First encounters with symmetry and invariance; Nuclear physics: the age of paradox; Quantum fields, or how particles are made and how they disappear; Battling the infinite; In which the nucleus acquires a new constituent, loses an old one, reveals new forces with new symmetries, and is explored by new experimental methods - the 1930s; PART II: THE POSTWAR YEARS: A MEMOIR; Of quantum electrodynamics' triumphs and limitations and of a new particle sobering impact; In which particle physics enters the era of big machines and big detectors and pion physics goes through ups and downs; Onset of an era: new forms of matter appear, old symmetries crumble; Essay on modern times: 1960-83; Being a conclusion that starts as epilog and ends as prolog.

Product Details

  • publication date: 15/09/1988
  • ISBN13: 9780198519973
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 682
  • ID: 9780198519973
  • weight: 1090
  • ISBN10: 0198519974

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