A Short History of Physics in the American Century by David C. Cassidy PDF

By David C. Cassidy

ISBN-10: 0674049365

ISBN-13: 9780674049369

Because the 20th century drew to an in depth, desktops, the net, and nanotechnology have been relevant to fashionable American existence. but the advances in physics underlying those purposes are poorly understood and greatly underappreciated via U.S. electorate this day. during this concise evaluate, David C. Cassidy sharpens our viewpoint on sleek physics by means of viewing this foundational technology during the lens of America’s engagement with the political occasions of a tumultuous century.American physics first stirred within the 1890s—around the time x-rays and radioactivity have been chanced on in Germany—with the founding of graduate colleges at the German version. but American examine lagged at the back of the good eu laboratories till powerful family guidelines, including the exodus of physicists from fascist international locations, introduced the kingdom into the 1st ranks of global examine within the Nineteen Thirties. The production of the atomic bomb and radar in the course of international conflict II ensured lavish executive aid for particle physics, in addition to computation, solid-state physics, and army communique. those advances facilitated house exploration and ended in the worldwide enlargement of the Internet.Well into the Sixties, physicists reinforced the us’ overseas prestige, and the kingdom repaid the desire via big outlays of federal, army, and philanthropic investment. yet progressively the US relinquished its postwar dedication to medical management, and the state came upon itself suffering to take care of a aggressive facet in technology schooling and examine. this present day, American physicists, depending totally on business investment, needs to compete with smaller, scrappier international locations reason on writing their very own short heritage of physics within the twenty-first century.

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Wilson, made the first measurements of the diameters of stars. Hale died in 1938, but not before setting in motion the construction of the world’s largest reflecting telescope until 1975: the 200-inch Hale Telescope completed on Mt. Palomar in 1948 under Hubble’s direction. 5 Hale sought to adapt the large-scale project approach of his big observatories to the promotion of American science as a whole in an effort to promote and integrate science, especially physical research, into the power structure of American society.

38 The numbers of PhDs by gender reveal more of the story (see Table 1 in the Appendix). Prewar discrimination in doctorates was less virulent than in employment. As noted earlier, in 1921 roughly 63 percent of women physicists held PhDs, while 80 percent of men physicists did so. By 1938 the percentages, if not the numbers, were nearly equal, 73 percent of women, 75 percent of men. But when one looks at the numbers of all science PhDs in American Men of Science by gender, the picture is just the reverse!

Not all succeeded in industrial research. Despite the higher pay, some regretted leaving the “pure science” of academe untainted by the drive for commercial profits. Apparently replying to this complaint, Jewett proclaimed, “The performance of industrial laboratories must be moneymaking . . ”27 However, as the United States entered the world war in 1917, Jewett argued in a speech that applied industrial research and pure science at universities must now grow together into a unification of science and technology.

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A Short History of Physics in the American Century by David C. Cassidy


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