By David C. Cassidy
Because the 20th century drew to a detailed, desktops, the net, and nanotechnology have been critical to fashionable American existence. but the advances in physics underlying those purposes are poorly understood and broadly underappreciated through U.S. electorate this day. during this concise evaluate, David C. Cassidy sharpens our viewpoint on glossy physics via viewing this foundational technological know-how during the lens of America’s engagement with the political occasions of a tumultuous century.American physics first stirred within the 1890s—around the time x-rays and radioactivity have been found in Germany—with the founding of graduate faculties at the German version. but American study lagged in the back of the good ecu laboratories till powerful household guidelines, including the exodus of physicists from fascist international locations, introduced the kingdom into the 1st ranks of worldwide learn within the Thirties. The construction of the atomic bomb and radar in the course of global conflict II ensured lavish executive aid for particle physics, besides computation, solid-state physics, and army communique. those advances facilitated area exploration and ended in the worldwide growth of the Internet.Well into the Nineteen Sixties, physicists reinforced the USA’ foreign prestige, and the country repaid the desire via titanic outlays of federal, army, and philanthropic investment. yet progressively the United States relinquished its postwar dedication to medical management, and the country came upon itself suffering to take care of a aggressive facet in technological know-how schooling and examine. this day, American physicists, depending totally on commercial investment, needs to compete with smaller, scrappier countries cause on writing their very own short historical past of physics within the twenty-first century.
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Extra resources for A Short History of Physics in the American Century
He died in Summit, New Jersey, in 1949. T h e Bu i l di ng Bo om The founding of independent departments of physics at most colleges and universities at the turn of the century paralleled the appearance of independent industrial laboratories. Together they reflected the physicists’ growing new professional identity. After a recession during the early 1890s, an economic boom filled the fi nancial coffers of most states and the bank accounts of wealthy individuals, while a sudden increase in the number of students flooded the existing facilities.
The NRC managers hand-picked the young man to help bring American theoretical physics to world-class status. 49 Oppenheimer was born in 1904 in New York City to a wealthy family that had abandoned its German-Jewish heritage and sought assimilation into New York City’s upper economic and cultural class. Oppenheimer attended one of the premier private schools in the city, the Ethical Culture School, regarded at the time as a prep school for Harvard and Radcliffe. 5 percent of “Jewish” students in Harvard’s freshman class of 1922, President Lowell unleashed his campaign for quotas at Harvard with his warning to Jewish students in the New York Times about the atmosphere they were likely to encounter.
With the new developments in quantum theory, these areas of research were requiring sophisticated mathematical and analytical skills beyond the means of many experimentalists. Theoretical physicists adept in the new theories yet closely attuned to experimental research were becoming essential to the future progress and competitive ability of American physics. In 1919 Harvard physics professor Percy W. Bridgman induced his university to begin offering graduate courses in theoretical physics. He wrote to Edwin C.
A Short History of Physics in the American Century by David C. Cassidy