Faust In Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics and the Birth of the Nuclear Age

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Random House, Jun 30, 2011 - Science - 320 pages

In 1932, the so-called annus mirabilis of modern physics, a group of scientists gathered in Copenhagen for a week-long conference on the extraordinary new work that was taking place in laboratories across the world; work that would ultimately lead to the development of nuclear weapons and the ensuing international power struggles.

Segrč's erudite and impressive account explores this crucial moment in history through the lives and careers of seven physicists sitting in the front row of the Copenhagen meeting. Six of them were already in the pantheon of genius while the seventh - Max Delbrück - was the author of a skit performed at the conference that lightly parodied the struggle between the old and new theories of physics and eerily foreshadowed the events that were to unfold in the struggle between peaceful uses of scientific discovery and destructive ones.

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User Review  - satyridae - LibraryThing

The Faust component of the book was minuscule and the struggle for the soul of physics (whatever that might be) was to my eyes illusory. The book was, for the most part, a series of anecdotes- most of which have been more coherently told elsewhere. I was disappointed. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pineapplejuggler - LibraryThing

My first impression is that this is one of my favorite books ever. The physicist-author's writing is very lucid and easy to follow, despite the heavy subject matter of quantum mechanics and nuclear ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Gino Segrč is a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. An internationally renowned expert in high-energy elementary-particle theoretical physics and in astrophysics, Segrč has received awards from the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the John S. Guggenhein Foundation, the John D. Rockefeller Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. He is the author of over 100 papers in his field as well as a popular book published in 2003, Einstein's Refrigerator - Tales of the Hot and Cold. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Bettina Hoerlin and their dog Kaya.

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