By Victor F. Weisskopf
This feature of essays covers quite a lot of matters attached with the actual sciences and their relation to human affairs. they're widely conceived and directed to a in most cases viewers instead of to experts particularly components. a few are written for the initiated, a few are huge synopses of a department of physics and are directed to the scientifically layman. a few care for extra philosophic questions akin to Niels Bohr's principles on complementarity, and others take care of the issues of technology, ethics, and society.
Hans Bethe writes as follows within the Foreword:
"His precis articles on targeted themes are lucid and are 'popular clinical writing' at its top. the topic is made transparent to physicists in different branches of physics and to the trained public by means of simplifying it, yet with no ever creating a compromise with primary accuracy, as many well known writers on technology do after they get enamored with their very own imagery and disregard the topic that they honestly are looking to explain.
Viki's [Weisskopf's] major crisis, as of such a lot theoretical physicists, is the proper interpretation of the quantum theory.... This topic is already famous in 1951 in his article 'Quantity and caliber in Quantum Physics.' the following he makes transparent how a quantitative distinction, reminiscent of the variety of electrons of 6 in a carbon and eleven in a sodium atom, makes all of the distinction within the qualitative habit of those chemical components. He additionally foresees, at this early time, many of the advancements in biology regarding DNA.
"The precis article approximately electron idea (1949) is written primarily for physicists. He summarizes the nice advances caused through the renormalization thought which provides finite effects for all observable amounts and is key to fashionable box conception. His personal box of nuclear physics is summarized in 'Problems of Nuclear constitution' (1961), in an easier shape in 'Nuclear types' (1951). Weisskopf is often concerned with very important advancements in physics whether he himself has now not contributed. a huge this kind of [was defined in] the 'Fall of Parity.' this text is a gorgeous instance of his skill to make issues comprehensible with no altering the necessities. within the 'Visual visual appeal of speedily relocating items' he explains the invention of Penrose swiftly relocating item seems to us because it if had its normal form and isn't distorted by means of the Lorentz contraction as had formerly been believed; in truth, with out relativity conception it will glance badly distorted. His 'How mild Interacts with topic' is wealthy in new insights.
"The topic is extra constructed in 'Physics within the 20th Century' and 'The Quantum Ladder.'... i do not understand of the other position the place the fundamental solidity of our international as ruled by means of quantum thought is best defined, or the good richness of the phenomena attributable to quantitative alterations is proven with higher love."
as well as these pointed out above, the booklet incorporates a variety of different essays. those crisis actual conception (articles at the compound nucleus and on user-friendly particles), the human points of clinical study (articles on Niels Bohr and on Marie Curie), and organic conception (considerations of symmetry and serve as on the macromolecular point and of the quantum foundation of natural reproduction). a last crew of essays is worried with such concerns because the intrinsic price of technological know-how, the contributions of technological know-how to society, and clinical ethics. The latter is defined by way of Bethe as "A most pretty and concise assertion of the scientist's creed."