As a young scholar William dazzled a Victorian society enthralled with the seductive authority and powerful beauty of scientific discovery. At a time when no one really understood heat, light, electricity, or magnetism, Thomson found key connections between them, laying the groundwork for two of the cornerstones of 19th century science -- the theories of electromagnetism and thermodynamics.
Charismatic, confident, and boyishly handsome, Thomson was not a scientist who labored quietly in a lab, plying his trade in monkish isolation. When scores of able tinkerers were flummoxed by their inability to adapt overland telegraphic cables to underwater, intercontinental use, Thomson took to the high seas with new equipment that was to change the face of modern communications. And as the worldâ€™s navies were transitioning from wooden to iron ships, they looked to Thomson to devise a compass that would hold true even when surrounded by steel.
Gaining fame and wealth through his inventive genius, Thomson was elevated to the peerage by Queen Victoria for his many achievements. He was the first scientist ever to be so honored. Indeed, his name survives in the designation of degrees Kelvin, the temperature scale that begins with absolute zero, the point at which atomic motion ceases and there is a complete absence of heat. Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, was Great Britain's unrivaled scientific hero.
But as the century drew to a close and Queen Victoria's reign ended, this legendary scientific mind began to weaken. He grudgingly gave way to others with a keener, more modern vision. But the great physicist did not go quietly. With a ready pulpit at his disposal, he publicly proclaimed his doubts over the existence of atoms. He refused to believe that radioactivity involved the transmutation of elements. And believing that the origin of life was a matter beyond the expertise of science and better left to theologians, he vehemently opposed the doctrines of evolution, repeatedly railing against Charles Darwin. Sadly, this pioneer of modern science spent his waning years arguing that the Earth and the Sun could not be more than 100 million years old. And although his early mathematical prowess had transformed our understanding of the forces of nature, he would never truly accept the revolutionary changes he had helped bring about, and it was others who took his ideas to their logical conclusion.
In the end Thomson came to stand for all that was old and complacent in the world of 19th century science. Once a scientific force to be reckoned with, a leader to whom others eagerly looked for answers, his peers in the end left him behind -- and then meted out the ultimate punishment for not being able to keep step with them. For while they were content to bury him in Westminster Abbey alongside Isaac Newton, they used his death as an opportunity to write him out of the scientific record, effectively denying him his place in history. Kelvinâ€™s name soon faded from the headlines, his seminal ideas forgotten, his crucial contributions overshadowed.
Destined to become the definitive biography of one of the most important figures in modern science, Degrees Kelvin unravels the mystery of a life composed of equal parts triumph and tragedy, hubris and humility, yielding a surprising and compelling portrait of a complex and enigmatic man.
In 1919, British scientists led extraordinary expeditions to Brazil and Africa to test Albert Einstein’s revolutionary new theory of general relativity in what became the century’s most celebrated scientific experiment. The result ushered in a new era and made Einstein a global celebrity by confirming his dramatic prediction that the path of light rays would be bent by gravity. Today, Einstein’s theory is scientific fact. Yet the effort to “weigh light” by measuring the gravitational deflection of starlight during the May 29, 1919, solar eclipse has become clouded by myth and skepticism. Could Arthur Eddington and Frank Dyson have gotten the results they claimed? Did the pacifist Eddington falsify evidence to foster peace after a horrific war by validating the theory of a German antiwar campaigner? In No Shadow of a Doubt, Daniel Kennefick provides definitive answers by offering the most comprehensive and authoritative account of how expedition scientists overcame war, bad weather, and equipment problems to make the experiment a triumphant success.
The reader follows Eddington on his voyage to Africa through his letters home, and delves with Dyson into how the complex experiment was accomplished, through his notes. Other characters include Howard Grubb, the brilliant Irishman who made the instruments; William Campbell, the American astronomer who confirmed the result; and Erwin Findlay-Freundlich, the German whose attempts to perform the test in Crimea were foiled by clouds and his arrest.
By chronicling the expeditions and their enormous impact in greater detail than ever before, No Shadow of a Doubt reveals a story that is even richer and more exciting than previously known.
An Einstein Encyclopedia contains entries on Einstein’s birth and death, family and romantic relationships, honors and awards, educational institutions where he studied and worked, citizenships and immigration to America, hobbies and travels, plus the people he befriended and the history of his archives and the Einstein Papers Project. Entries on Einstein’s scientific theories provide useful background and context, along with details about his assistants, collaborators, and rivals, as well as physics concepts related to his work. Coverage of Einstein’s role in public life includes entries on his Jewish identity, humanitarian and civil rights involvements, political and educational philosophies, religion, and more.
Commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the theory of general relativity, An Einstein Encyclopedia also includes a chronology of Einstein’s life and appendixes that provide information for further reading and research, including an annotated list of a selection of Einstein’s publications and a review of selected books about Einstein.
Much of Einstein's life is shrouded in legend. From popular images and advertisements to various works of theater and fiction, he has come to signify so many things. In Einstein: A Biography, Jürgen Neffe presents a clear and probing portrait of the man behind the myth. Unearthing new documents, including a series of previously unknown letters from Einstein to his sons, which shed new light on his role as a father, Neffe paints a rich portrait of the tumultuous years in which Einstein lived and worked. And with a background in the sciences, he describes and contextualizes Einstein's enormous contributions to our scientific legacy.
Einstein, a breakout bestseller in Germany, is sure to be a classic biography of the man and proverbial genius who has been called "the brain of the [twentieth] century."
In this work Einstein intended, as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of relativity to those readers who, from a general and scientific philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics. The theory of relativity enriched physics and astronomy during the 20th century.(Relativity: The Special and the General Theory by Albert Einstein, 9789380914220)
Almost one hundred years after general relativity replaced Newton's theory of gravitation, The Curious History of Relativity tells the story of both events surrounding general relativity and the techniques employed by Einstein and the relativists to construct, develop, and understand his almost impenetrable theory. Jean Eisenstaedt, one of the world's leading experts on the subject, also discusses the theory's place in the evolution of twentieth-century physics. He describes the main stages in the development of general relativity: its beginnings, its strange crossing of the desert during Einstein's lifetime while under heated criticism, and its new life from the 1960s on, when it became vital to the understanding of black holes and the observation of exotic objects, and, eventually, to the discovery of the accelerating universe. We witness Einstein's construction of his theory, as well as the work of his fascinated, discouraged, and enthusiastic colleagues--physicists, mathematicians, and astronomers.
Written with flair, The Curious History of Relativity poses--and answers--the difficult questions raised by Einstein's magnificent intellectual feat.
It can be divided in general and special categories. The theory influences how humankind understands the relationship of mass and energy. Additionally, concepts related to space travel have changed the understanding of time and how it is influenced by movement. The entertainment industry has incorporated the theory into movies and shows as a way to exhibit an intelligent person or group.
No matter the reason a person chooses to learn more about the Theory of Relativity, doing so can be beneficial for multiple reasons. Those who comprehend it make better conversationalists and have a deeper grasp of how the world functions. These alone are reasons enough for everyone to embark on a journey of learning about this theory.
The information in this book covers all of the basic tools necessary to understand the Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The definitions of words related to the theory can be useful when reading other texts on the topic. The section regarding further resources is a great place for anyone seeking to learn more to go.
Not only is comprehension of the theory necessary to stay abreast of the latest news in the scientific world, it can also be useful when enjoying science fiction, whether it be in book or video form. There are many authors who have built worlds and stories while holding to the scientific concepts that are generally accepted in professional circles. This creates a sense of realism within the world of fantasy.
From the basics general theory to special relativity, everyone should know the fundamentals of Einstein's famous theory. This knowledge makes for a firmer grasp of how the world works. Those who have been able to comprehend it are able to gain more knowledge from scientific news and make for better conversationalists. Students that are required to learn it can enjoy these benefits as well as that of getting good grades on a challenging topic.
In this book, Gutfreund and Renn tell the rich story behind the early reception, spread, and consequences of Einstein’s ideas during the formative years of general relativity in the late 1910s and 1920s. They show that relativity’s meaning changed radically throughout the nascent years of its development, and they describe in detail the transformation of Einstein’s work from the esoteric pursuit of one individual communicating with a handful of colleagues into the preoccupation of a growing community of physicists, astronomers, mathematicians, and philosophers.
This handsome edition quotes extensively from Einstein’s correspondence and reproduces historical documents such as newspaper articles and letters. Inserts are featured in the main text giving concise explanations of basic concepts, and short biographical notes and photographs of some of Einstein’s contemporaries are included. The first-ever English translations of two of Einstein’s popular Princeton lectures are featured at the book’s end.
Centuries ago, natural philosophers puzzled out the laws of nature using the tools of observation and experimentation. Today, theoretical physics has become mathematically inscrutable, accessible only to an elite few. In rejecting this abstraction, outsider theorists insist that nature speaks a language we can all understand. Through a profoundly human profile of Jim Carter, Wertheim's exploration of the bizarre world of fringe physics challenges our conception of what science is, how it works, and who it is for.
Jimena Canales introduces readers to the revolutionary ideas of Einstein and Bergson, describes how they dramatically collided in Paris, and traces how this clash of worldviews reverberated across the twentieth century. She shows how it provoked responses from figures such as Bertrand Russell and Martin Heidegger, and carried repercussions for American pragmatism, logical positivism, phenomenology, and quantum mechanics. Canales explains how the new technologies of the period—such as wristwatches, radio, and film—helped to shape people’s conceptions of time and further polarized the public debate. She also discusses how Bergson and Einstein, toward the end of their lives, each reflected on his rival’s legacy—Bergson during the Nazi occupation of Paris and Einstein in the context of the first hydrogen bomb explosion.
The Physicist and the Philosopher is a magisterial and revealing account that shows how scientific truth was placed on trial in a divided century marked by a new sense of time.
A compelling blend of physics, biography, and the history of science, Einstein and the Quantum shares the untold story of how Einstein--not Max Planck or Niels Bohr--was the driving force behind early quantum theory. It paints a vivid portrait of the iconic physicist as he grappled with the apparently contradictory nature of the atomic world, in which its invisible constituents defy the categories of classical physics, behaving simultaneously as both particle and wave. And it demonstrates how Einstein's later work on the emission and absorption of light, and on atomic gases, led directly to Erwin Schrödinger's breakthrough to the modern form of quantum mechanics. The book sheds light on why Einstein ultimately renounced his own brilliant work on quantum theory, due to his deep belief in science as something objective and eternal.
This unique book is published as the first of a three-part set for Newtonian scholars, historians of science, philosophers of science and others interested in Newtonian physics.
All Titles:1.Newton and Modern Physics
In The Theory of Almost Everything, Robert Oerter shows how what were once thought to be separate forces of nature were combined into a single theory by some of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century. Rich with accessible analogies and lucid prose, The Theory of Almost Everything celebrates a heretofore unsung achievement in human knowledge—and reveals the sublime structure that underlies the world as we know it.
In the spring of 1911, Albert Einstein moved with his wife and two sons to Prague, the capital of Bohemia, where he accepted a post as a professor of theoretical physics. Though he intended to make Prague his home, he lived there for just sixteen months, an interlude that his biographies typically dismiss as a brief and inconsequential episode. Einstein in Bohemia is a spellbinding portrait of the city that touched Einstein's life in unexpected ways—and of the gifted young scientist who left his mark on the science, literature, and politics of Prague.
Michael Gordin's narrative is a masterfully crafted account of a person encountering a particular place at a specific moment in time. Despite being heir to almost a millennium of history, Einstein's Prague was a relatively marginal city within the sprawling Austro-Hungarian Empire. Yet Prague, its history, and its multifaceted culture changed the trajectories of Einstein's personal and scientific life. It was here that his marriage unraveled, where he first began thinking seriously about his Jewish identity, and where he embarked on the project of general relativity. Prague was also where he formed lasting friendships with novelist Max Brod, Zionist intellectual Hugo Bergmann, physicist Philipp Frank, and other important figures.
Einstein in Bohemia sheds light on this transformative period of Einstein's life and career, and brings vividly to life a beguiling city in the last years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
At the occasion of the Einstein-in-Prague centenary an international meeting was organized under a title inspired by Einstein's last paper from the Prague period: "Relativity and Gravitation, 100 Years after Einstein in Prague". The main topics of the conference included: classical relativity, numerical relativity, relativistic astrophysics and cosmology, quantum gravity, experimental aspects of gravitation and conceptual and historical issues.
The conference attracted over 200 scientists from 31 countries, among them a number of leading experts in the field of general relativity and its applications. This volume includes abstracts of the plenary talks and full texts of contributed talks and articles based on the posters presented at the conference. These describe primarily original results of the authors. Full texts of the plenary talks are included in the volume "General Relativity, Cosmology and Astrophysics--Perspectives 100 Years after Einstein in Prague", eds. J. Bičák and T. Ledvinka, published alsoby Springer Verlag.
A scandal hovers over the history of 20th century physics. Albert Einstein -- the century's greatest physicist -- was never able to come to terms with quantum mechanics, the century's greatest theoretical achievement. For physicists who routinely use both quantum laws and Einstein's ideas, this contradiction can be almost too embarrassing to dwell on. Yet Einstein was one of the founders of quantum physics and he spent many years preaching the quantum's importance and its revolutionary nature.
The Danish genius Neils Bohr was another founder of quantum physics. He had managed to solve one of the few physics problems that Einstein ever shied away from, linking quantum mathematics with a new model of the atom. This leap immediately yielded results that explained electron behavior and the periodic table of the elements.
Despite their mutual appreciation of the quantum's importance, these two giants of modern physics never agreed on the fundamentals of their work. In fact, they clashed repeatedly throughout the 1920s, arguing first over Einstein's theory of "light quanta"(photons), then over Niels Bohr's short-lived theory that denied the conservation of energy at the quantum level, and climactically over the new quantum mechanics that Bohr enthusiastically embraced and Einstein stubbornly defied.
This contest of visions stripped the scientific imagination naked. Einstein was a staunch realist, demanding to know the physical reasons behind physical events. At odds with this approach was Bohr's more pragmatic perspective that favored theories that worked, even if he might not have a corresponding explanation of the underlying reality. Powerful and illuminating, Einstein Defiant is the first book to capture the soul and the science that inspired this dramatic duel, revealing the personalities and the passions -- and, in the end, what was at stake for the world.
This analysis uncovers latent undercurrents, indiscernible to other approaches to tracking the intellectual pathway of Einstein to his general theory of relativity. The interconnections and interactions presented here reveal the central figures who influenced Einstein during this intellectual period. Despite current approaches to history presupposing that the efforts of scientists such as Max Abraham and Gunnar Nordström, which differed from Einstein’s own views, be relegated to the background, this book shows that they all had an impact on the development of Einstein’s theories, stressing the limits of approaches focusing solely on Einstein. As such, General Relativity Conflict and Rivalries proves that the general theory of relativity was not developed as a single, coherent construction by an isolated, brooding individual, but, rather, that it came to fruition through Einstein’s conflicts and interactions with other scientists, and was consolidated by his creative processes during these exchanges.
Which of these bizarre phenomena, if any, can really exist in our universe? Black holes, down which anything can fall but from which nothing can return; wormholes, short spacewarps connecting regions of the cosmos; singularities, where space and time are so violently warped that time ceases to exist and space becomes a kind of foam; gravitational waves, which carry symphonic accounts of collisions of black holes billions of years ago; and time machines, for traveling backward and forward in time.
Kip Thorne, along with fellow theorists Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, a cadre of Russians, and earlier scientists such as Oppenheimer, Wheeler and Chandrasekhar, has been in the thick of the quest to secure answers. In this masterfully written and brilliantly informed work of scientific history and explanation, Dr. Thorne, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at Caltech, leads his readers through an elegant, always human, tapestry of interlocking themes, coming finally to a uniquely informed answer to the great question: what principles control our universe and why do physicists think they know the things they think they know? Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has been one of the greatest best-sellers in publishing history. Anyone who struggled with that book will find here a more slowly paced but equally mind-stretching experience, with the added fascination of a rich historical and human component.
Winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science.