Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge by Niels Bohr

Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge by Niels Bohr

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New York : John Wiley & Sons, 1958. First Edition. Hardcover. 101 pages. Pages are age toned and unmarked. Binding is firm.


Niels Bohr's : Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge

The seven essays contained in this book reflect the attitudes of one of this century's great thinkers toward the nature of man and man's concept of the physical world. The essays originated from lectures delivered in the years 1932-1938, 1?49, and 1954-1957, respectively. Each is a lucidly conceived statement which illuminates not only the development of atomic pn||ics in our 4|ihe but the demands scientific explanation makes on traditional philosophy as well.

Throughout, Dr. Bohr deals with the feature of wholeness in atomic processes, disclosed by the discovery of the quantum of action. He presents the essential aspects of the situation in quantum physics and, at the same time, stresses the points of similarity it exhibits to our position in other fields of knowledge. The essays make us familiar with the novel situation in physical science and help us clarify the conditions for objective description in other areas.

The first three papers treat biological and anthropological problems relating to the features of wholeness displayed by living organisms and human cultures. The fourth article deals with Bohr's discussions with Einstein of certain epistemological problems raised by quantum physics. The last group of articles is closely related to the first. The gist of Bohr's argument in these three papers is that for harmonious comprehension it is necessary in almost every field of knowledge to pay close attention to the circumstances under which evidence is obtained.

About the author

In Albert Einstein's words, Danish physicist Niels Bohr is "one of the greatest scientific discoverers of our age." His colleagues in the world of atomic physics have long considered him their leading theoretical spokes¬man, and his international reputation as an original thinker among scientists in general is both unchallenged and expanding.

In 1913 Dr. Bohr published three papers on the structure of the atom which, many believe, established the theoretical basis for present atomic developments. At the age of 37, in 1922, he won the Nobel Prize. In collaboration with J. A. Wheeler, he announced the identity of Uranium-235 at Princeton in 1939. Trapped by the Nazis in Denmark during World War II, he was smuggled by fishing boat to Sweden in 1943, flown to England by the R.A.F., and eventually brought to the United States to aid in the completion of the atomic bomb.

Niels Bohr, at 72, directs the Insti¬tute for Theoretical Physics which he founded in 1920 at the University of Copenhagen. Among the numerous recent honors he has received was the presentation, in 1957, of the first $75,000 Atoms for Peace Award.

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