Albert Einstein and Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, photographed by Paul Ehrenfest (1880-1933) in front of his home in Leiden in 1921. (This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.)
Science history and biographies
Absolute Zero by Tom ShachtmanIn a sweeping yet marvelously concise history, Tom Shachtman ushers us into a world in which scientists tease apart the all-important secrets of cold. Readers take an extraordinary trip, starting in the 1600s with an alchemist's air conditioning of Westminster Abbey and scientists' creation of thermometers. Later, while entrepreneurs sold Walden Pond ice to tropical countries -- packed in "high-tech" sawdust -- researchers pursued absolute zero and interpreted their work as romantically asdid adventurers to remote regions. Today, playing with ultracold temperatures is one of the hottest frontiers in physics, with scientists creating useful particles Einstein only dreamed of. Tom Shachtman shares a great scientific adventure story and its characters' rich lives in a book that has won a grant from the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Absolute Zero is for everyone who loves history and science history stories, who's eager to explore Nobel Prize-winning physics today, or who has ever sighed with pleasure on encountering air conditioning.
Call Number: QC 278 .S48 1999
The Curious Life of Robert Hooke by Lisa JardineThe brilliant, largely forgotten maverick Robert Hooke was an engineer, surveyor, architect and inventor who was appointed London's Chief Surveyor after the Great Fire of 1666. Throughout the 1670s he worked tirelessly with his intimate friend Christopher Wren to rebuild London, personally designing many notable public and private buildings, including the Monument to the Fire. He was the first Curator of Experiments at the Royal Society, and the author and illustrator of Micrographia, a lavishly illustrated volume of fascinating engravings of natural phenomena as seen under the new microscope. He designed an early balance spring watch, was a virtuoso performer of public anatomical dissections of animals, and kept himself going with liberal doses of cannabis and "poppy water"(laudanum). Hooke's personal diaries -- cryptically confessional as anything Pepys wrote -- record a life rich with melodrama. He came to London as a fatherless boy of thirteen to seek his fortune as a painter, rising by his wits to become an intellectual celebrity. He never married but formed a long-running illicit liaison with his niece. A dandy, boaster, workaholic, insomniac and inveterate socializer in London's most fashionable circles, Hooke had an irascible temper, and his passionate idealism proved fatal for his relationships with men of influence -- most notably Sir Isaac Newton, who, after one violent argument, wiped Hooke's name from the Royal Society records and destroyed his portrait. In this lively and absorbing biography, Lisa Jardine at last does Hooke and his achievements justice. Illuminating London's critical role in the emergence of modern science, she rediscovers and decodes a great original thinker of indefatigable curiosity and imagination, a major figure in the seventeenth-century intellectual and scientific revolution.
Call Number: Q143.H7 J37 2004
The Road to Stockholm by István HargittaiThis book introduces the process of selection of the laureates, discusses the ingredients for scientific discovery and for getting recognition. It reviews the decisive moments of scientific careers en route to the Nobel Prize, points to characteristic features of the laureates, the importance of mentors and venues in scientific careers and other components of success. It also covers some discoverers and discoveries for whom and for which the Nobel Prize never materialized.
Call Number: Q141 .H266x 2002
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out by Richard P. Feynman; Freeman J. Dyson (Foreword by)The Pleasure of Finding Things Out is a magnificent treasury of the best short works of Richard Feynman--from interviews and speeches to lectures and printed articles. A sweeping, wide-ranging collection, it presents an intimate and fascinating view of a life in science--a life like no other.From his ruminations on science in our culture and descriptions of the fantastic properties of quantum physics to his report on the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, this book will fascinate anyone interested in Feynman and anyone interested in the world of ideas. Newcomers to Feynman will be moved by his wit and deep understanding of the natural world, and of the human experience.
Call Number: Q171 .F385 1999
Cathedrals of Science by Patrick CoffeyCathedrals of Science describes the way modern chemistry was actually built-by scientists who were sometimes all too human. Chemists-Svante Arrhenius, Walther Nernst, Gilbert Lewis, Irving Langmuir, Fritz Haber, Linus Pauling, Glenn Seaborg, Harold Urey, and others-appear in differentcombinations in its chapters, struggling to understand what was driving chemical processes, but not doing so selflessly. They were all concerned with what is called "priority"-the credit for being the first to make a discovery, and all but Lewis eventually won the Nobel prize. They sometimes actedspitefully: Arrhenius managed to block Nernst's Nobel prize for 15 years, and Nernst may have blocked Lewis's completely. World War I was the first war in which scientists were forced to make moral choices about their work. Fritz Haber's synthesis of ammonia from atmospheric nitrogen allowed the Germans to prolong the war for four years. And Haber became known as the "father of chemical warfare," introducingchlorine, phosgene, and mustard gas to the battlefield. Glenn Seaborg and Harold Urey were both leaders in World War II's Manhattan Project. Seaborg later built his career on his successes there, while Urey nearly had a nervous breakdown and dedicated himself to control of nuclear weapons. Paulingtoo became politically active and won the 1963 Nobel peace prize for his work to stop atmospheric nuclear testing. A different sort of ethical issue arose when Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 and immediately fired all government employees, including the university professors. Haber went into exile and died soon thereafter. Some non-Jewish scientists were principled, like Nernst, who refused to haveanything to do with the Nazis. Some supported the Nazis, and some were happy to take advantage of the professorships opened up by the expulsion of the Jews.
Call Number: Q180.55.D57 C64 2008
The Rise and Decline of Colloid Science in North America 1900-1935 by Andrew EdeIn 1925, the study of colloids was one of the most popular topics in American science. Researchers from such diverse fields as biology, physics, medicine and chemistry were looking at colloids and finding them in everything from cell physiology to chemical warfare gases. There were major conferences on colloids and plans to build a national colloid research centre. Throughout the first half of the decade, no less than 25 per cent of all chemistry papers published in North America were on colloid research. Ten years later, colloids had virtually disappeared as a research classification. The US National Research Council dropped the category of colloid research from its annual review of American chemistry, and even those researchers who continued to study colloids renamed themselves, often as surface chemists or phase state chemists. The leading advocate of colloid science in America, Wilder Bancroft, lost control of the Journal of Physical Chemistry, the leading publisher of colloid research, and was severely ridiculed by the medical community over his claims to have discovered a colloid basis for many diseases, including alcoholism, hay fever and mental illness. Offering a comprehensive account of the early history of colloid chemistry, Dr Ede also looks at the complex issues that led to the rise and sudden decline of the status of colloid research, to a point where the term 'colloid science' became one to be avoided by young scientists who wished to be considered serious researchers. The book prompts interesting questions about why the prestige of different branches of science rises and falls, the practice of scientific research in early twentieth-century America, and the future of chemistry as a scientific field.
Call Number: QD549 .E338 2007
Walther Nernst and the Transition to Modern Physical Science by Diana Kormos BarkanPrimarily a scientific biography of Walther H. Nernst (1864-1941), one of Germany's most important, productive and often controversial scientists, this 1999 book addresses a set of specific scientific problems that evolved at the intersection of physics, chemistry and technology during one of the most revolutionary periods of modern physical science. Nernst, who won the 1920 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, was a key figure in the transition to a modern physical science, contributing to the study of solutions, of chemical equilibria, and of the behavior of matter at the extremes of the temperature range. A director of major research institutes, rector of the Berlin University, and inventor of a new electric lamp, Nernst was the first 'modern' physical chemist, an able scientific organizer, and a savvy entrepreneur. His career exemplified the increasing connection between German technical industry and academic science, between theory and experiment, and between concepts and practice.
Call Number: QD22 .N39 B37 1999
Magick, Mayhem, and Mavericks by Cathy CobbA lively history of science that explains the concepts of physical chemistry. Having previously taught chemistry, Cobb (physics and mathematics, Aiken Preparatory School) sets out to portray the splendor and complexities of physical chemistry, and tell stories of its heroes and heroines. She uses analogy and example rather than mathematics, to be accessible to non-scientists.
Call Number: QD452 .C63 2002
Physical Chemistry from Ostwald to Pauling by John W. ServosJohn Servos explains the emergence of physical chemistry in America by presenting a series of lively portraits of such pivotal figures as Wilhelm Ostwald, A. A. Noyes, G. N. Lewis, and Linus Pauling, and of key institutions, including MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, and Caltech. In the early twentieth century, physical chemistry was a new hybrid science, the molecular biology of its time. The names of its progenitors were familiar to everyone who was scientifically literate; studies of aqueous solutions and of chemical thermodynamics had transformed scientific knowledge of chemical affinity. By exploring the relationship of the discipline to industry and to other sciences, and by tracing the research of its leading American practitioners, Servos shows how physical chemistry was eclipsed by its own offspring--specialties like quantum chemistry.
American Men and Women of Science. (2003) 21st edition. R.R. Bowker Database Publishing Group. Standard reference. Entries are dropped when the individual dies; consult older editions in the stacks for those who are deceased. Morris Library Ref. Q141 .A1 .A47 (8 vol.)
James, L. K., 1993. Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, 1901-1992. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society: Chemical Heritage Foundation. Chemistry Library QD21 .N63 1993 and Morris Library Ref QD21 .N63 1993
Bowden, M. E., 1997. Chemical Achievers: The Human Face of Chemistry. Philadelphia, PA: Chemical Heritage Foundation. Illustrated biographical sketches. Illustrations largely portraits, but also buildings, laboratories, equipment, manuscripts, etc. Name/subject index. Morris Library QD21 .B67 1997
Farber, E., 1961. Great Chemists. New York: Interscience. Chemistry Library QD21 .F35
Haynes, W. (Ed.), The Chemical Who's Who. New York: Lewis Historical Co., 1928-56. Morris Library TP139 .C47, Library has v.2 (1937); 3rd ed. (1951); 4th ed. (1956)
Pedersen, O., 1993. Early Physics and Astronomy: A Historical Introduction. Rev. ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Ancient Greece through Copernicus; brief biographical data on about 200 individuals with references] See the Biographical Appendix. p. 297-404. Morris Library QC7 .P4213 1993