The Great Physicists from Galileo to Einstein (Biography of Physics) (Paperback)
This book is Gamow at his best, which means the very best in science for the layman. -- Library Journal
Widely recognized as one of the 20th century's foremost physicists, George Gamow was also an unusually capable popularizer of science. His talents are vividly revealed in this exciting and penetrating explanation of how the central laws of physical science evolved -- from Pythagoras' discovery of frequency ratios in the 6th century B.C. to today's research on elementary particles.
Unlike many books on physics which focus entirely on fact and theory with little or no historic detail, the present work incorporates fascinating personal and biographical data about the great physicists of past and present. Thus Dr. Gamow discusses on an equal basis the trail of Galileo and the basic laws of mechanics which he discovered, or gives his personal recollections about Niels Bohr along with detailed discussion of Bohr's atomic model. You'll also find revealing glimpses of Newton, Huygens, Heisenberg, Pauli, Einstein, and many other immortals of science.
Each chapter is centered around a single great figure, or at most two, with other physicists of the era and their contributions forming a background. Major topics include the dawn of physics, the Dark Ages and the Renaissance, Newtonian physics, heat as energy, electricity, the relativistic revolution, quantum theory, and the atomic nucleus and elementary particles.
As Dr. Gamow points out in the Preface, the aim of this book is to give the reader the feeling of what physics is, and what kind of people physicists are. This delightfully informal approach, combined with the book's clear, easy-to-follow explanations, will especially appeal to young readers but will stimulate and entertain science enthusiasts of all ages. 1961 edition.
The whole thing is a tour de force covering all the important landmarks. -- Guardian
About the Author
A renowned physicist and author of the bestseller One Two Three . . . Infinity, George Gamow is one of the founders of the Big Bang theory. Modern Science Made Easy By one of the leading physicists of the twentieth century, George Gamow's One, Two, Three...Infinity is one of the most memorable popular books on physics, mathematics, and science generally ever written, famous for having, directly or indirectly, launched the academic and/or scientific careers of many young people whose first real encounter with the wonders and mysteries of mathematics and science was through reading this book as a teenager. Untypically for popular science books, this one is enhanced by the author's own delightful sketches. Reviewers were enthusiastic when One, Two, Three...Infinity was published in 1947. In the Author's Own Words: If and when all the laws governing physical phenomena are finally discovered, and all the empirical constants occurring in these laws are finally expressed through the four independent basic constants, we will be able to say that physical science has reached its end, that no excitement is left in further explorations, and that all that remains to a physicist is either tedious work on minor details or the self-educational study and adoration of the magnificence of the completed system. At that stage physical science will enter from the epoch of Columbus and Magellan into the epoch of the National Geographic Magazine! -- George Gamow Critical Acclaim for One, Two, Three...Infinity: This skillful presentation is for the non-professional and professional scientist. It will broaden the knowledge of each and give the imagination wide play. -- Chemistry and Engineering News A stimulating and provocative book for the science-minded layman. -- Kirkus Reviews This is a layman's book as readable as a historical novel, but every chapter bears the solid imprint of authoritative research. -- San Francisco Chronice George Gamow succeeds where others fail because of his remarkable ability to combine technical accuracy, choice of material, dignity of expression, and readability. -- Saturday Review of Literature