Download A century of Nature: twenty-one discoveries that changed by Laura Garwin, Tim Lincoln, Steven Weinberg PDF

By Laura Garwin, Tim Lincoln, Steven Weinberg

ISBN-10: 0226284158

ISBN-13: 9780226284156

The various medical breakthroughs of the 20th century have been first mentioned within the magazine Nature. A Century of Nature brings jointly in a single quantity Nature's maximum hits—reproductions of seminal contributions that modified technological know-how and the realm, followed through essays written by way of best scientists (including 4 Nobel laureates) that supply ancient context for every article, clarify its insights in swish, available prose, and rejoice the serendipity of discovery and the rewards of attempting to find needles in haystacks.

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Additional info for A century of Nature: twenty-one discoveries that changed science and the world

Sample text

When, in 1911, Ernest Rutherford discovered the atomic nucleus, he proposed a “planetary” model for the atom, in which negatively charged electrons orbit the positively charged nucleus. But according to classical physics, the electrons would be expected to radiate energy as they orbited, causing them to spiral down into the nucleus; in such a picture, no atom could survive for longer than about a hundred trillionths of a second. Two years later, Niels Bohr addressed this problem by introducing Planck’s quantum into atoms.

At about the same time as Rutherford, William D. 3 He took as his starting point the existence of isotopes—forms of the same element that have different atomic mass. 2)—his suggestion did not have much influence, because he did not discuss the possibility of free neutrons and their likely behavior. Rutherford, with his uncanny ability to visualize the interactions of particles, helped to prepare Chadwick’s mind, often refreshed by their discussions while they waited together in the dark until their eyes were adapted and sensitive enough to record the scintillations produced on a zinc sulfide screen by nuclear disintegrations.

On present views, the neutral hydrogen atom is regarded as a nucleus of unit charge with an electron attached at a distance, and the spectrum of hydrogen is ascribed to the movements of this distant electron. Under some conditions, however, it may be possible for an electron to combine much more closely with the H nucleus, forming a kind of neutral doublet. Such an atom would have very novel properties . . it should be able to move freely through matter . . it may be impossible to contain it in a sealed vessel.

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