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From X-rays to Quarks: Modern Physicists and Their Discoveries (Dover Classics of Science & Mathematics) Paperback – June 5, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Classics of Science & Mathematics
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486457834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486457833
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #914,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Emilio G. Segrè: The History of Physics
Emilio Segrè (1905–1989) became, in 1928, the first student to earn a doctorate in physics at The University of Rome under Enrico Fermi. A decade later, restrictive fascist laws against Jews in academic positions in Italy turned Segrè into an academic refugee — he settled in Berkeley where, in 1955, with colleague Owen Chamberlain, he proved the existence of the antiproton, a negatively charged proton that destroys itself as well as the matter it strikes. In 1959, Segrè and Chamberlain shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on antiproton.

From 1943 to 1946, Segrè worked as a group leader on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. In his 1970 book about Fermi, Segrè recalled a crucial atomic test in the New Mexico desert: "In a fraction of a second, at our distance, one received enough light to produce a sunburn. I was near Fermi at the time of the explosion, but I do not remember what we said, if anything. I believed that for a moment I thought the explosion might set fire to the atmosphere and thus finish the earth, even though I knew that this was not possible."

It always seems an opportunity that should not be missed when a major participant in the world of science takes the time and makes the effort to write about his field for a general audience. At Dover we were very pleased to acquire from Emilio Segrè's heirs the rights to publish his outstanding two-volume history of physics written for the general reader and historian of science: From Falling Bodies to Radio Waves: Classical Physicists and Their Discoveries and From X-Rays to Quarks: Modern Physicists and Their Discoveries, both reprinted by Dover in 2007.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Unfortunately the book is out of print and one needs to hunt down a used book.
Canay
Perfect for the eager high school student or the scientist who wonders just how all these things were worked out.
Peter Renz
What is remarkable is how these great men and women used the work of each other to further their own endeavors.
Avid Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kennen Haas on September 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What this book is not:
A text book
Written to explain some controversial theory
Promoting a world view or pseudo religious belief
An artful work of literature
Written for a general audience

What this book is:
A chronological narrative of the development of modern physics
A series of stories about scientist and the nature of their experiments
A tome that covers the most important physics discoveries for the era it covers

Why read this book?
I would recommend this book to anyone who studies the hard sciences
This book would nicely augment a modern physics course
Because knowing the history of science promotes real understanding
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Canay on May 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a great book on the history of quantum mechanics. I highly reccomend it. Unfortunately the book is out of print and one needs to hunt down a used book.
It begins with the discovery of X-rays in 1895 and ends with events around the early 70's. It is interesting how the technological advances of today have come about after a sudden chain of discoverires starting with just 2 discoveries that acted as sparks: xrays and radioactivity (both of which thanks to some photpgraphic film that developed without the intention of the scientist). The chronological developments are nicely intertwined.
I enjoyed how the author has written of the rigorous development of quantrum mechanics from 3 different viewpoints of schrodinger, heisenberg and dirac and how they later proved that all 3 were the same. There are great photographs of the scientists of the time also. Overall very well written with lots of stories about the featured scientists. Can finish the book in one day, it was that incaptivating (to serve as a reference, am a chemistry student).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on January 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Segre` has written two excellect histories for the educated non-scientist. These are not "light" reads, but they are informative and entertaining. This is the second part of the pair (the first, "From Falling Bodies to Radio Waves") and is just exciting as the first. One could almost call this work, "The Story Continues". It tells of scientists working for years on end in attempts to understand the universe and its workings. Of course, we meet those geniuses that discovered a new aspect of reality or a long-sought explanation.
What is remarkable is how these great men and women used the work of each other to further their own endeavors. The practice of documenting new find and publishing scientific journals began during this era. Exquisite writine with diagrams, photographs and illustrations.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By djv on November 9, 1997
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Segre's style on physics is straight forward and non-intimidating. But what make this book is his stories. Emilio met and worked with many of these men. He describes their personalities attitudes and politics, and they come alive in his book. This is history the way it ought to be taught. Squisito! Bravo! Bravisimo!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Fugu on October 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a very easy and fascinating read, although with a science training it maybe that I had some advantage. The style flows very well and is not as dry as might be expected from such a text. It is clear that the author has a very personal knowledge of the field which adds a great deal to the story. The early years from 1895 to 1945 are covered in the most detail and with a passion for the subject. I particularly enjoyed the vignettes of the main names in the development of Quantum Mechanics. Generally people are familiar with their names, most such as Einstein and Rutherford having become part of popular culture. But the fascinating part of the story is how many threads came together at the right time and more importantly in the right mind to lead to the advances in Physics we now accept as fundamental to our understanding of the world around us. I learned a great deal from this section and was able to put many parts I already knew into their correct historical context.

The chapters covering the period 1945 to the 1970's (I have the 1980 version) are much more disjoint and it is clear that the whole field had mushroomed beyond the ability of one person to completely document. So this period has less clarity, although it is still quite fascinating to understand some of the interactions between the masters of their domain.

The only part of the text that became annoying is the authors veneration of the Nobel Prize winners. In most cases the winners have either stood on the shoulders of their compatriots or crushed others under their personality. Several times it is pointed out that some idea/result had been discovered well before those who are credited and honored with the discovery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Raymond J. Jerome on December 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In my opinion, "From X-Rays to Quarks," by Emilio Segre is one of the greatest books that I have ever read. I believe that it should be "required reading" for every student of science, and particularly physics. It presents the lives of the great scientist of the past and present, who have made such tremendous contributions to mankind through their scientific achievements, lifts them from the dry pages of history books, and makes them "Live." After reading Segre's book, these scientist seem like great friends whom you have personally and intimately known for many years and whose achievements you can never forget. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Raymond, J. Jerome --Author of "From Creation to Eternity' and "A Grand View of Existence."
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