A Force of Nature: The Frontier Genius of Ernest Rutherford

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 207 pages
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A new intellectual biography of Ernest Rutherford, the twentieth century's greatest experimental physicist. Ernest Rutherford, who grew up in colonial New Zealand and came to Cambridge on a scholarship, made numerous revolutionary discoveries, among them the orbital structure of the atom and the concept of the "half-life" of radioactive materials, which led to a massive reevaluation of the age of the earth-previously judged just 100 million years old. Above all, perhaps, Rutherford and the young men working under him were the first to split the atom, unlocking tremendous forces-forces, as Rutherford himself predicted, that would bring us the atomic bomb. Rutherford, awarded a Nobel Prize and made Baron Rutherford by the queen of England, was also a great ambassador of science, coming to the aid of colleagues caught in the Nazi and Soviet regimes. Under Rutherford's rigorous and boisterous direction, a whole new generation of remarkable physicists emerged. In Richard Reeves's hands, Rutherford leaps off the page, a ruddy, genial man and a towering figure in scientific history.
 

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Physicist Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937) is not a name that comes to mind regarding early 20th-century scientists. Yet, historian Reeves (President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination), who also holds ... Read full review

Contents

CHAPTER 1
21
CHAPTER 2
41
CHAPTER 3
63
CHAPTER 4
73
CHAPTER 5
89
CHAPTER 6
107
CHAPTER 7
133
CHAPTER 8
145
CHAPTER 9
161
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About the author (2008)

Richard Reeves, an award-winning historian and columnist, is the author of many books, including President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination. He is a senior lecturer at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. He splits his time between New York City and Santa Monica, California.

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