Download e-book for kindle: Atom and Void: Essays on Science and Community by J. Robert Oppenheimer

By J. Robert Oppenheimer

ISBN-10: 0691085471

ISBN-13: 9780691085470

J. Robert Oppenheimer used to be one of many notable physicists of his iteration. He was once additionally an immensely talented author and speaker, who proposal deeply concerning the manner that medical discoveries have replaced the way in which humans dwell and imagine. showing his subtlety of notion and expression as do few different records, this publication of his lectures discusses the ethical and cultural implications of advancements in smooth physics.

Originally released in 1989.

The Princeton Legacy Library makes use of the most recent print-on-demand expertise to back make on hand formerly out-of-print books from the celebrated backlist of Princeton collage Press. those paperback variants look after the unique texts of those very important books whereas providing them in sturdy paperback variants. The target of the Princeton Legacy Library is to significantly elevate entry to the wealthy scholarly background present in the millions of books released through Princeton college Press for the reason that its founding in 1905.

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Sample text

Rutherford discovered even more: he was able to show that when fast α-particles penetrated nuclear matter things other than α-particles emerged from the metie. In experiments undertaken dur­ ing the First World War, and justified by Rutherford as of greater importance than any contribution he could then make to the prosecution of that war, Rutherford for the first time induced by human action the transmutation of an atomic nucleus, knocking out of the nucleus of nitrogen a nucleus of hydrogen, or proton, and starting a chain of events which led, among many things, to man's release of atomic energy, to what may some day be judged the most compelling argument of all for putting an end to war itself.

We learned, before the story was finished, that more than Newtonian mechanics would have to be modified if we were to understand and describe our experience with atomic systems. We would have to alter our ideas on very fundamental points, on causality, for instance, and even on the nature of the objectivity of parts of the physical world. We were to be reminded, in a quite unexpected way, of the nature and limitations, as well as the power, of human knowledge itself. It is largely for this reason that the story of atomic discovery has appeared to me so full of instruc­ tion for us all, for layman as well as specialist.

This is what we see in every radio antenna. As far as our model goes, this radiation should in time sap the energy of the electron to make up for the energy that has been sent out in the form of light waves; and the ellip­ ses on which the electron moves should get smaller and smaller as it gets nearer to its attractive sun and loses its energy. For a system about the size of the hydrogen atom as we know it in nature, a few hundredths of a millionth of an inch across, this process should go very rapidly; and the atom should become far, far smaller than atomic dimen­ sions in very much less than a millionth of a second.

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Atom and Void: Essays on Science and Community by J. Robert Oppenheimer

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