Unravelling the Mystery of the Atomic Nucleus

A Sixty Year Journey 1896 — 1956

Authors: Fernandez, Bernard, Ripka, Georges

  • A non-technical and non-mathematical account of how atomic nuclei were discovered and the physical laws which govern them
  • A comprehensive account of the historical development of nuclear physics, both from the experimental and the theoretical point of view
  • Physicists who contributed to these developments are presented in their historical context with biographical details
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About this book

Unravelling the Mystery of the Atomic Nucleus is a history of atomic and nuclear physics. It begins in 1896 with the discovery of radioactivity, which leads to the discovery of the nucleus at the center of the atom. It follows the experimental discoveries and the theoretical developments up to the end of the Fifties.

Unlike previous books regarding on history of nuclear physics, this book methodically describes how advances in technology enabled physicists to probe the physical properties of nuclei as well as how the physical laws which govern these microscopic systems were progressively discovered. The reader will gain a clear understanding of how theory is inextricably intertwined with the progress of technology.

Unravelling the Mystery of the Atomic Nucleus will be of interest to physicists and to historians of physics, as well as those interested development of science.

About the authors

Bernard Fernandez, a graduate from the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, is a physicist from Saclay, France, a laboratory of the French Atomic Energy Commission.  He performed experiments on nuclear structure using the Van de Graaff Tandem accelerator and later on the GANIL heavy ion accelerator located in Caen. From 1965 to 1967 he spent two years in the University of Washington in Seattle and in 1976-1977 a year at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen.  In 2008 the French edition of this book was awarded the Médaille Marc-Auguste Pictet by the Physics and Natural History Society of Geneva.

Georges Ripka, a physicist from the same laboratory in Saclay, worked on nuclear theory, condensed matter and particle physics. In 1963 he spent a year in the University of Pittsburgh and a further two sabbatical years in the University of Princeton (1967) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1978). Since 1999 he has also worked in the European Center for Theoretical Physics in Trento, Italy. He is the author of several books, including Quantum Theory of Finite Systems (co-author with Jean Paul Blaizot), MIT Press, 1986 and Vivre Savant sous le communisme, Editions Belin, 2002. In 1995 he was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung prize.

Reviews

From the reviews:

“This work details the birth of nuclear physics in 1896 and its progression to maturity by the 1950s. … Readers truly interested in the journey itself will be well pleased with the book … . Using extensive quotations from primary sources and emphasizing experimental techniques and instrumentation, Fernandez brings the journey alive to deliver an authentic experience. … It is an easy read, free of mathematics, and suitable for nonscientists. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals; general readers.” (P. Oxley, Choice, Vol. 50 (10), June, 2013)


Table of contents (8 chapters)

  • Radioactivity: The First Puzzles

    Fernandez, Bernard

    Pages 1-45

  • A Nucleus at the Heart of the Atom

    Fernandez, Bernard

    Pages 47-87

  • Quantum Mechanics: The Unavoidable Path

    Fernandez, Bernard

    Pages 89-162

  • A Timid Infancy

    Fernandez, Bernard

    Pages 163-239

  • 1930–1940: A Dazzling Development

    Fernandez, Bernard

    Pages 241-393

Buy this book

eBook $69.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-4181-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $89.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-4180-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $89.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4899-8562-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Rent the ebook  
  • Rental duration: 1 or 6 month
  • low-cost access
  • online reader with highlighting and note-making option
  • can be used across all devices
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Unravelling the Mystery of the Atomic Nucleus
Book Subtitle
A Sixty Year Journey 1896 — 1956
Authors
Copyright
2013
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media New York
eBook ISBN
978-1-4614-4181-6
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4614-4181-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4614-4180-9
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4899-8562-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 530
Additional Information
Translation from French
Topics