|History of XX Century Physics|
of physics by areas; history of quantum physics, of relativistic
physics and of relativistic cosmology.
* Initial situation: Physicists thought essentially everything was understood, with their theories of matter and energy, electricity and magnetism, heat, sound, and light; A few small outstanding problems would be fixed soon, like the failure to detect ether, the nature of X-rays, radioactivity, and the black body.
* Overview: Radical changes occurred in the structure of physical theories, due to special relativity and quantum mechanics in the first 30 years, then due to our increased understanding of dynamical systems and complexity from the 1970s, and of the subatomic world; Germany and then the US play prominent role in research.
* 1911: Rutherford postulated the existence of the atomic nucleus, which led him to his atom model; Max Planck introduced the quantum concept of zero-point motion; and Heike Kamerlingh Onnes announced the discovery of superconductivity in mercury below a critical transition temperature.
* 1920s: Neither relativity theory nor quantum theory were viewed by all as the future of physics (see J Larmor).
* 1930, particle physics: Matter is made of e, p, γ, interacting by electromagnetic and gravitational forces.
* 1930s: Jordan introduced annihilation and creation operators (who first realized that everything is made of field quanta), viewed with suspicion by Pauli.
* 1947: Bethe published a short calculation of the Lamb shift in agreement with experiment, and convinced the experts that QED was physically correct.
* 1962, particle physics: Headline makers are Chew, Mandelstam; Hot topics are bootstraps, N/D methods, strip approximations.
* 1964: Gell-Mann and Zweig proposed the quark model for hadrons.
* 1969: High-energy collisions between electrons and protons produced the first indications of quarks inside the protons.
* 1999, news: Speed of light in a medium reduced to 17 m/s.
* 2000, news: Discovery of ντ; Discovery of the quark-gluon plasma and some evidence for the Higgs boson.
Specific Countries, Institutions, and People
of physics [personal accounts]; XXI century.
@ Germany: Forman HSPS(71) [Weimar]; Castell & Ischebeck ed-03 [and von Weizsäcker].
@ And Nazism: Beierchen 77 [science]; Powers 93 [the bomb]; Cornwell 03 [r pw(04)jan]; Cardona & Marx phy/04 [impact on productivity].
@ USA: Kevles 95; Gruner et al PT(95)dec; Bartell a0911, Reed PS(14) [Manhattan Project]; Cassidy 11 [institutional and political history].
@ Italy: Battimelli & Paoloni ed-98 [writings by E Amaldi]; De Gregorio HSPMP(06)phy/05 [Roma 1930s]; Maiani & Bonolis a1707/EPJH [theoretical physics in Italy, 1958-1993].
@ Other countries: Brown & Nambu SA(98)dec [wartime Japan]; Miller HSPBS(99) [post-Mao China]; Holloway HSPBS(99), Shifman ed-13, Kernbach a1312 [Soviet Union]; Rai Choudhuri a1612 [Calcutta University Science College in 1916 (Raman, Bose, Saha)].
@ Institutions: Regis 87 [IAS]; Phillips AJP(90)mar [APS]; Lécuyer HSPS(92) [MIT]; Crease 99 [BNL]; Roederer PT(01)sep, De Greiff HSPBS(02) [ICTP]; Westwick 03 [US national labs 1947–1974, r PT(04)jan]; Deken phy/03-conf [SLAC]; news pw(04)sep [CERN's 50th]; pw(04)sep [future]; Krige PT(04)sep [Rabi and CERN]; Stratton & Mannix 05 [MIT, r PT(06)may]; Hoddeson & Kolb PP(04)-a1110, Hoddeson et al 08 [Fermilab]; Batterson 06 [IAS]; Kaiser 10 [MIT]; Leslie PT(10)apr [Laboratory architecture]; Ioffe EPJH(12)-a1208 [ITEP Theoretical Physics Laboratory 1945-1958]; Goenner a1612 [AEI]; Amusia a1808 [Ioffe Institute]; Volovik a1810-JETP [Landau Institute, 1968-2018]; news APS(18)oct [PRD].
@ Events: Straumann EPJH(11)-a1109 [1st Solvay conference, 1911].
@ People: Ginzburg 01; Hargittai & Hargittai 04, 06 [interviews]; Giulini & Straumann phy/05 [Einstein]; Poenaru phy/05 [Proca]; Straumann a0810-conf [Pauli]; Monk 12 [Robert Oppenheimer]; Chiang & Wong 13 [Madame Wu]; Christy 13 [Robert F Christy]; Eckert 13 [Sommerfeld]; Cardy JSM(13)-a1308-proc [Ken Wilson]; van Lunteren & Hollestelle Isis(13) [Ehrenfest]; Gaillard 15; Shifman a1508, 15 [Houtermans, Golfand]; Zichichi 16 [Blackett]; Neuenschwander ed-16 [Freeman Dyson letters].
> Online resources: see A L Kuzemsky's Minds of Science [Balescu, Bloch, Bogoliubov, Callen, DeWitt, Everett, Hubbard, Ising, Jaynes, Kirkwood, Kubo, Lemaître, Majorana, Margenau, Néel, Onsager, Salam, Schwinger, Stoner, ter Haar, Van Hove, ...]; Wikipedia pages on Debye.
s.a. history of physics.
@ General: Weisskopf 72; Mehra 75; Weiner ed-77; Wheaton 84; Cohen 85; de Maria et al ed-89; Gingerich 89; Sarlemijn & Sparnaay ed-89; in Coveney & Highfield 90, p67; Brown et al 95; Wheaton & Rider [reference]; Crease & Mann 97; Adams 99 [I]; Kragh 99 [r pw(99)nov]; Suplee 99 [r PT(99)jun]; Pais 00; d’Agostino 00 [ideas in theoretical physics, and XIX century]; Mehra 01; Peat 01; Sallhofer & Radharose 01; Bromley 02; Yang IJMPA(03) [themes]; Staley Isis(05), SHPSA(08) ["classical" and "modern" physics]; Capri 07, 11; Kragh a1111-ch [1930s]; Kragh a1207-ch [growth and changes from 1880 to 1910].
@ By years: Schewe PT(89)jan ; news pw(97)dec ; news pw(98)dec ; news pw(99)dec ; news pw(00)dec .
@ And nuclear weapons: Serber 92; Hoddeson et al 93 [I]; Heisenberg PT(95)aug [1942 lecture]; Rhodes 95; Walker 95; Byers Cern(02)phy ; Hurtado de Mendoza in(07)-a0706 [Einstein].
@ And XX century politics: Josephson PT(88)sep; Hounshell HSPBS(97) [RAND]; Kojevnikov HSPBS(02) [Bohm, collectivist and socialist ideas].
"Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place
of decimals" A Michelson, 1894
"As you know, physics will be finished within six months" M Born, 1928 (after the publication of the Dirac equation)
– journals – comments
– other sites – acknowledgements
send feedback and suggestions to bombelli at olemiss.edu – modified 24 oct 2018