On the beauty of science: a Nobel laureate reflects on the universe, God, and the nature of discovery
Prometheus Books, Jan 29, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 113 pages
"Does the scientist's world conform to the real one? Nature usually answers this question with an emphatic 'No!' It has in fact been said that Nature delights in saying 'No' and only with the greatest reluctance condescends to reveal her secrets. For this reason the scientist's life is not an easy one. However, on those rare occasions when his world does conform to the real one, and for this reason does throw light on the world around us, the rewards and the satisfactions are great and more than compensate for the many disappointments." -- Herbert A. Hauptman. In this memoir of a long, distinguished career devoted to scientific research, world-renowned mathematician Herbert A. Hauptman recounts both the joys and the disappointments of his lifelong quest to induce nature to "reveal her secrets". In 1985, Dr. Hauptman received the greatest honour that any scientist can receive, when the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded him and his colleague, Jerome Karle, the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Drs Hauptman and Karle were recognised "for their outstanding achievements in the development of direct methods for the determination of crystal structures". This work has proved to be of the greatest importance because it relates molecular structure to biological activity, thus permitting a better understanding of life processes and making possible the development of many new disease-fighting drugs. Dr. Hauptman vividly describes the difficulties of the mathematical work that led up to his discovery as well as his joy when he finally hit upon! a method of unravelling the structure of crystals. In addition, he provides a personal account of his background, family, his formative studies in high school and college, and the experiences that motivated him to pursue a life devoted to scientific research. A strong advocate of the naturalistic worldview and a critic of supernaturalism in any form, he reflects on the alleged compatibility of science and religion and emphasises the importance of scientific understanding for contemporary civilisation. Complete with an appendix containing the original monograph (co-authored with Jerome Karle), which became the basis for their Nobel Prize-winning work, this fascinating and moving memoir offers important insights into the nature of scientific research and the value of the scientific outlook on life.
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My Youth as a Scientist
The Crystallographers Challenge
How God Hurts Science
4 other sections not shown
accordance with Theorem Acta Cryst anomalous scatterers APPENDIX assumed believe centrosymmetric space groups choice of origin City College conditional probability distribution crystal structure determine the signs diffraction intensities direct methods Dorita enantiomorph equations equivalence classes estimate finite number formulas Hauptman-Woodward Institute Herbert Hauptman integers Jerome Karle Karle and Hauptman known large number linear combinations linearly dependent modulo linearly semi-dependent modulo mathematical mixed moments molecules Monograph Naval Research Lab neighborhood Nobel Prize normalized structure factors obtained P+(Fft phase determination phase problem procedure for phase quartet random variables range uniformly reciprocal lattice vectors relationship religion religious scientific scientists solution space group PI specified arbitrarily struc structure seminvariants symmetry Table theory three-phase structure invariants tion two-phase structure uniformly and independently unique unit cell value when referred vector polygon vectors H x-ray crystallography x-ray diffraction