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  • Published: 30 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446468821
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

Faust In Copenhagen

A Struggle for the Soul of Physics and the Birth of the Nuclear Age




Wonderfully vivid and accessible, this is an account of that moment when the world's greatest physicists came out of the laboratory and onto the international stage - the birth of 'big science' and the nuclear age.

In 1932, the so-called annus mirabilis of modern physics, a group of scientists gathered in Copenhagen for a week-long conference on the extraordinary new work that was taking place in laboratories across the world; work that would ultimately lead to the development of nuclear weapons and the ensuing international power struggles.

Segrè's erudite and impressive account explores this crucial moment in history through the lives and careers of seven physicists sitting in the front row of the Copenhagen meeting. Six of them were already in the pantheon of genius while the seventh - Max Delbrück - was the author of a skit performed at the conference that lightly parodied the struggle between the old and new theories of physics and eerily foreshadowed the events that were to unfold in the struggle between peaceful uses of scientific discovery and destructive ones.

  • Published: 30 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446468821
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the author

Gino Segrè

Gino Segrè is a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. An internationally renowned expert in high-energy elementary-particle theoretical physics and in astrophysics, Segrè has received awards from the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the John S. Guggenhein Foundation, the John D. Rockefeller Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. He is the author of over 100 papers in his field as well as a popular book published in 2003, Einstein's Refrigerator - Tales of the Hot and Cold. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Bettina Hoerlin and their dog Kaya.

Praise for Faust In Copenhagen

Gripping and absorbing... Faust in Copenhagen is written with a style and skill that makes it an early contender for Science book of the year...one of the best I have read in a long time, and which can be whole heartedly recommended

Literary Review

Lively and accessible

New Humanist

[Segrè] demonstrates a knack for explaining weird conundrums and a humane sympathy for the wrong turnings and moral difficulties of his heroes

Steven Poole, Guardian

Segrè unravels the tensions and conflicts within the group, both personal and scientific, and of the different approaches to the task of making mathematical sense of the weirdness of the subatomic world

Kenan Malik, Daily Telegraph

Faust in Copenhagen provides an engaging glimpse of the process of scientific discovery

Sunday Telegraph

An engaging romp through the strange world of the quantum and its creaters

BBC History Magazine

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