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Atomic Physics


The Los Alamos Primer: The First Lectures on How To Build an Atomic Bomb

The Los Alamos Primer: The First Lectures on How To Build an Atomic Bomb Lowest new price: $32.82
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Author: Robert Serber
Brand: imusti

The classified lectures that galvanized the Manhattan Project scientists―with annotations for the nonspecialist reader and an introduction by a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian.

In March 1943 a group of young scientists, sequestered on a mesa near Santa Fe, attended a crash course in the new atomic physics. The lecturer was Robert Serber, J. Robert Oppenheimer's protégé, and they learned that their job was to invent the world's first atomic bomb.

Serber's lecture notes, nicknamed the "Los Alamos Primer," were mimeographed and passed from hand to hand, remaining classified for many years. They are published here for the first time, and now contemporary readers can see just how much was known and how terrifyingly much was unknown when the Manhattan Project began. Could this "gadget," based on the newly discovered principles of nuclear fission, really be designed and built? Could it be small enough and light enough for an airplane to carry? If it could be built, could it be controlled?

Working with Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the development of the atomic bomb, Professor Serber has annotated original lecture notes with explanations of the physics terms for the nonspecialist. His preface, an informal memoir, vividly conveys the mingled excitement, uncertainty, and intensity felt by the Manhattan Project scientists. Rhodes's introduction provides a brief history of the development of atomic physics up to the day that Serber stood before his blackboard at Los Alamos. In this edition, The Los Alamos Primer finally emerges from the archives to give a new understanding of the very beginning of nuclear weapons. No seminar anywhere has had greater historical consequences.

In April 1943, a young physicist named Robert Serber stood up before a small group of fellow scientists in a laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and, as one attendee later recalled, began to speak in "a hazy, uncertain voice" about the project on which they would all be working. "The object," he said, "is to produce a practical military weapon in the form of a bomb in which the energy is released by a fast neutron chain reaction in one or more of the materials known to show nuclear fission." That mechanism, of course, was the atomic bomb, which a little more than two years later would be used against Japan.

In the following weeks, Serber touched on many themes, racing to an array of chalkboards to scribble complex formulas and equations. Among other things, he addressed how big a bomb would need to be in order to achieve critical mass--between 13.5 centimeters and 9 centimeters, he calculated--and what the probability of premature detonation might be. (It was, he concluded, always a danger.) At the end of the series, his lecture notes, classified as top secret, were gathered and printed for distribution to later cadres of scientists who came to work at Los Alamos. Years after the war they were declassified, and Serber, who died in May of 1997, took the opportunity to reflect on his work and the strange culture of the laboratory, adding postscripts and other commentary reproduced in the present edition.

Serber's book is an important document in the history of science, and remains one of the most accessible introductions to nuclear physics ever written. (On that note, those who worry that it is all too easy to find bomb-building instructions in the library or on the Web should rest assured: these lectures were tough for the greatest theoretical physicists of the time to follow.) It all makes for provocative reading. --Gregory McNamee

Features:

  • University of California Press

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Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos

Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos Lowest new price: $10.20
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Author: Isaac Asimov

“Amazing… If you’ve been searching for a basic text on how the atom works, this is it.” —Booklist
 
“A masterpiece.”—Omni
 
The legendary Isaac Asimov starts what is perhaps the most fascinating of all his books with a simple query: how finely can a piece of matter be divided? But like many simple questions, this one leads us on a far-flung quest for a final answer, a search that becomes a series of beautifully structured building blocks of knowledge.
 
It begins with the earliest speculations and investigations by the Greeks and Romans, and then, step by step and century by century, it traces the path of discovery that revealed more and more of the nature of the atom, of light, of gravity, of the electromagnetic force—and even the nature and structure of the universe.
 
Atom also encompasses such phenomena as light and electricity; the protons, neutrons and quarks that are the fundamental units of the universe; hard-to-observe “anti-particles”; and other strange bits of matter that challenge our assumptions about the very nature of space and time.
 
Atom is the only book of its kind, by the renowned author whose genius for bringing clarity and excitement to complex subjects has made him the most celebrated science author of our time.

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Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos during the Oppenheimer Years, 1943-1945

Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos during the Oppenheimer Years, 1943-1945 Lowest new price: $52.91
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Author: Lillian Hoddeson
Brand: Brand: Cambridge University Press

This volume is a lucid and accurate history of the technical research that led to the first atomic bombs. The authors explore how the "critical assembly" of scientists, engineers, and military personnel at Los Alamos, responding to wartime deadlines, collaborated to create a new approach to large-scale research. The book opens with an introduction laying out major themes. After a synopsis of the prehistory of the bomb project, from the discovery of nuclear fission to the start of the Manhattan Engineer District, and an overview of the early materials program, the book examines the establishment of the Los Alamos Laboratory, the implosion and gun assembly programs, nuclear physics research, chemistry and metallurgy, explosives, uranium and plutonium development, confirmation of spontaneous fission in pile-produced plutonium, the thermonuclear bomb, critical assemblies, the Trinity test, and delivery of the combat weapons.

Features:

  • Used Book in Good Condition

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The Briefest History of Time: The History of Histories of Time and the Misconstrued Association between Entropy and Time

The Briefest History of Time: The History of Histories of Time and the Misconstrued Association between Entropy and Time Lowest new price: $21.86
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Author: Arieh Ben-Naim
Brand: Ingramcontent

The aim of this book is to explain in simple language what we know about time and about the history of time. It is shown that the briefest (as well as the lengthiest) history of time can be described in one or two pages.

The second purpose of the book is to show that neither entropy, nor the Second Law of Thermodynamics has anything to do with time. The third purpose is to educate the lay reader how to read popular science books, critically. Towards this goal, detailed reviews of four books on time are presented.

There are many popular science books on Time, on the beginning of Time and the end of Time. This book is unique in the following two senses:

  • It explains in simple terms what Time is, and why it is not related to entropy
  • It critically reviews a few popular science books which perpetuate all kinds of unfounded ideas about the relationship between Time and the Second Law
Readership: Interested lay public, students of any of the sciences, scientists, teachers and researchers.

Features:

  • Briefest History of Time The The History of Histories of Time and the Misconstrued Association Between Entropy and Time

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Physics of Atoms and Molecules (2nd Edition)

Physics of Atoms and Molecules (2nd Edition) Lowest new price: $64.41
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Author: B.H. Bransden
Brand: Addison-Wesley

New edition of a well-established second and third year textbook for Physics degree students, covering the physical structure and behaviour of atoms and molecules. The aim of this new edition is to provide a unified account of the subject within an undergraduate framework, taking the opportunity to make improvements based on the teaching experience of users of the first edition, and cover important new developments in the subject.
 

Features:

  • Addison-Wesley

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Why the Universe Exists: How particle physics unlocks the secrets of everything (Instant Expert)

Why the Universe Exists: How particle physics unlocks the secrets of everything (Instant Expert) Lowest new price: $12.73
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Author: New Scientist


WHY IS THERE ALWAYS SOMETHING RATHER THAN NOTHING?

As you read this, billions of neutrinos from the sun are passing through your body, antimatter is sprouting from your dinner and the core of your being is a chaotic mess of particles known only as quarks and gluons.


Following the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson, Why The Universe Exists takes you deeper into the world of particle physics, exploring how the universe functions at the smallest scales.


Find out about the hunt for dark matter, discover how accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider are rewinding time to the first moments after the big bang, and learn how ghostly neutrino particles may hold the answers to the greatest mysteries of the universe.

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The Plutonium Story: The Journals of Professor Glenn T. Seaborg 1939-1946

The Plutonium Story: The Journals of Professor Glenn T. Seaborg 1939-1946 Lowest new price: $129.98
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Author: Glenn T. Seaborg

This book chronicles on a day-to-day basis the astounding story of the discovery of plutonium and the feverish activities to unlock its secrets and enhance its productivity to the levels necessary for the building of an atomic bomb in World War II by its discoverer, Professor Glenn T. Seaborg. Seaborg, who shared the 1951 nobel Prize in Chemistry with his colleague Edwin T. McMillan, was a meticulous diarist whose detailed records of thousands of pages have been edited and supplied with accompanying notes by a trio consisting of a professional scientist with a strong interest in history and two professional historians of science. The work provides not only the step by step description of the scientific activities and the thought processes of Seaborg and his team throughout the war years, but also gives keen insight into the operation of the Manhattan District and of the scientists who played an important role in its functions. Virtually all of the players are identified in the annotations, which also serve to explain the significance of key events and findings as well as obscure or arcane scientific procedures.
The professional chemist or nuclear scientist will find this an exciting and compelling saga of a great scientific discovery, carried out in a bygone era of unfettered and productive science that is not likely to occur again. The copious annotations and identifications not only add to the story, but make this a vital and necessary reading and reference source not only for the historian of science, but for those interested in the behind the scenes history of World War II and the Manhattan District.

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Atomic physics: An exploration through problems and solutions

Atomic physics: An exploration through problems and solutions Lowest new price: $44.20
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Author: Dmitry Budker

This book provides a bridge between the basic principles of physics learned as an undergraduate and the skills and knowledge required for advanced study and research in the exciting field of atomic physics. The text is organized in a unique and versatile format --- as a collection of problems, hints, detailed solutions, and in-depth tutorials. This enables the reader to open the book at any page and get a solid introduction to subjects on the cutting edge of atomic physics, such as frequency comb metrology, tests of fundamental symmetries with atoms, atomic magnetometers, atom trapping and cooling, and Bose-Einstein condensates. The text also includes problems and tutorials on important basics that every practicing atomic physicist should know, but approached from the perspective of experimentalists: formal calculations are avoided where possible in favor of 'back-of-the-envelope' estimates, symmetry arguments, and physical analogies. The 2nd edition contains over 10 new problems, and includes important updates, revisions, and corrections of several problems of the 1st edition.

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The Theory of Atomic Structure and Spectra (Los Alamos Series in Basic and Applied Sciences)

The Theory of Atomic Structure and Spectra (Los Alamos Series in Basic and Applied Sciences) Lowest new price: $82.29
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Author: Robert D. Cowan
Brand: Robert D Cowan

Both the interpretation of atomic spectra and the application of atomic spectroscopy to current problems in astrophysics, laser physics, and thermonuclear plasmas require a thorough knowledge of the Slater-Condon theory of atomic structure and spectra. This book gathers together aspects of the theory that are widely scattered in the literature and augments them to produce a coherent set of closed-form equations suitable both for computer calculations on cases of arbitrary complexity and for hand calculations for very simple cases.

Features:

  • The Theory of Atomic Structure and Spectra


Atomic and Electronic Structure of Solids

Atomic and Electronic Structure of Solids Lowest new price: $68.66
Lowest used price: $25.00
List price: $128.00
Author: Efthimios Kaxiras
Brand: Brand: Cambridge University Press

This graduate textbook designed for students in physics, chemistry and materials science provides a modern treatment of the theory of solids dealing with the physics of electron and phonon states in crystals and how they determine the structure and properties of solids. The first part of the book deals with electrons and atoms in a crystal, and the second part extends the discussion to defects in crystals and to structures without crystalline symmetry. There are numerous exercises throughout and appendices to provide the necessary background.

Features:

  • Used Book in Good Condition

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