By D. Allan Bromley
During this "Cook’s Tour" of advancements in physics and realted fields, D. Allan Bromley, technology consultant to President Bush in the course of 1989-1983 and earlier president of the yank actual Society, conveys a lot of the thrill and sweetness that examine in physics generated within the twentieth century and asks what new issues are in shop within the subsequent century.
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Extra resources for A Century of Physics
In the 1930s, Felix Bloch recognized that as atoms were brought close together (as in solids), the discrete energy levels that characterized them when they were well-isolated in a gaseous phase spread, resulting in electron bands and, even more important, forbidden bands. This discovery immediately made it possible to understand, at least in broad outline, the difference between monovalent metals, divalent metals, semiconductors, and insulators-all as a function of the size of the energy gap that separated filled valence bands from the open conduction bands.
Prior to the war basic research was, to a large extent, directed toward the understanding of nature, while invention and technology were directed toward the mastery of nature. Research thus took a parallel and insular course. What the wartime projects demonstrated was that basic understanding could greatly facilitate the development of technology and basic technology could facilitate whole new areas of basic research. The prewar activities that had frequently been called "natural philosophy" and "invention," THE IMMEDIATE POSTWAR PERIOD respectively, were irretrievably joined, and nowhere more so than in physics.
22 AN HISTORICAL OVERVIEW, 1900-1949 Robert Oppenheimer and Gregory Breit discuss Manhattan Project matters at an early Project meeting while Breit was still the Project Director. S. politicians and the scientific community-but also in the aftermath of the war, when he unofficially arranged for President Roosevelt to request a report from him making recommendations for the postwar period in science. In response to this request, Bush, largely on his own, produced the brief but remarkable document Science, the Endless Frontier which served as the effective blueprint for US science policy for the last half of the twentieth century.
A Century of Physics by D. Allan Bromley