Yakov Ilich Frenkel
Birkhäuser Verlag, Jan 1, 1996 - Mathematics - 323 pages
This book is dedicated to the Soviet theoretician Yakov Ilich Frenkel (1894 - 1952), whose work in solid and liquid state physics is considered to be the golden foundation of twentieth century physics. Best known are the Frenkel pairs (defects), kinetic theory of liquids, theory of mobile dislocations (Frenkel- Kontorova solitons). Today, the electron theory of solids is inconceivable without excitons - the quasiparticles he introduced in 1930. Frenkel also contributed important concepts to classical electrodynamics (which now go under Feynmana ~s appellation "Frenkela ~s Fields") and to nuclear physics (the Bohr-Frenkel drop model). The book surveys the genesis and ramifications of Yakov Frenkela ~s scientific achievements. Special attention is paid to Frenkela ~s civic convictions, his fight against official Soviet philosophy for the acceptance and development of the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics in the Soviet Union of the 1920sa "1940s, a crucial thirty-year period in the history of Russian physics following the October Revolution. Much of the book is based on a wealth of archival documents, personal reminiscences and of Frenkela ~s letters. Thanks to his trenchant observations, a vivid picture emerges of scientists, universities and cultures in Europe, the United States and various cities of the Soviet Union. The book is richly illustrated by unique photos and copies of drawings and portraits from Frenkela ~s own hand.