"As fresh and invigorating a work in the field of science biography as was its hero in his day." — Science
"A clear exposition of his discoveries, methods, and experiments…Recommended." — Library Journal
An absorbing account of the origins of modern science as well as a biography of the revolutionary thinker, this inspiring book was co-written by a former director of the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics and a historian of science (who was also the wife of physicist Enrico Fermi). It begins in Galileo's youth, with his return to his native city of Pisa to train as a physician. Instead, the student became captivated by the power of mathematical reasoning — an interest that led him to apply mathematical logic to natural events and, ultimately, to invent the concept of experimentation. Galileo's progress from student to teacher to scientific innovator is traced, with particular emphasis on his experiments with building and refining telescopes and his unprecedented observations of the moon and planets. The dramatic results of his findings, including his refutation of Aristotelian theory and his support of Copernican doctrine, are related in full, along with his clash with the papal inquisition and his tragic demise under house arrest. Written with a warm appreciation for the wonders of Galileo's achievements and with impeccable scholarship, this book concludes with a survey of the scientist's remarkable legacy. 12 figures. Appendix. Bibliography. Index.
Enrico Fermi: Father of the Atomic Age
Enrico Fermi (1901–1954) received the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his demonstrations of new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation, and for his related discovery of nuclear reactions brought about by slow neutrons." Just a year before winning the Nobel Prize, Fermi published Thermodynamics, based on a course of lectures at Columbia University, an enduring work which Dover first reprinted in 1956 and which has been in print continuously since then, one of the foundations of Dover's physics program.
Both a theorist and an experimentalist, Fermi packed an immense amount of science into his relatively short life, which ended prematurely as a consequence of the radiation he received working on the development of the atomic bomb. His work, of course, was not just in the realm of nuclear physics: Fermi will always be the most remembered for the events of December 2, 1942, when he and other scientists at the University of Chicago's Stagg Field produced the world's "first self-sustaining chain reaction . . . instituting the controlled release of atomic energy."
In the Author's Own Words:
"There are two possible outcomes: If the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery." — Enrico Fermi
Critical Acclaim for Enrico Fermi:
"He was simply unable to let things be foggy. Since they always are, this kept him pretty active." — J. Robert Oppenheimer