Faust in Copenhagen by Gino Segre
A Struggle for the Soul of Physics

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As though their knowledge of the quantum secrets came with the power of prophecy, some three dozen of Europe’s best physicists ended their 1932 meeting in Copenhagen with a parody of Goethe’s “Faust.” Just weeks earlier, James Chadwick had discovered neutrons...
-NY Times

Synopsis

A physicist himself, Gino Segrè writes about what scientists do?and why they do it?with intimacy, clarity, and passion. In Faust in Copenhagen, he evokes the fleeting, magical moment when physics?and the world?was about to lose its innocence forever. Known by physicists as the miracle year, 1932 saw the discovery of the neutron and antimatter, as well as the first artificially induced nuclear transmutations. However, while scientists celebrated these momentous discoveries?which presaged the nuclear era and the emergence of big science?during a meeting at Niels Bohr?s Copenhagen Institute, Europe was moving inexorably toward totalitarianism and war.
 

About Gino Segre

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Gino Segrè is a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. An internationally renowned expert on highenergy elementary-particle theoretical physics, he is the author of A Matter of Degrees: What Temperature Reveals About the Past and Future of Our Species, Planet, and Universe.
 
Published June 14, 2007 by Penguin Books. 332 pages
Genres: History, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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NY Times

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Reviewed by George Johnson on Jun 24 2007

As though their knowledge of the quantum secrets came with the power of prophecy, some three dozen of Europe’s best physicists ended their 1932 meeting in Copenhagen with a parody of Goethe’s “Faust.” Just weeks earlier, James Chadwick had discovered neutrons...

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