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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: $34.66
Lowest used price: $33.51
List price: $47.95
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


  • University of California Press

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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: $12.88
List price: $18.95
Author: New Scientist


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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Physics of Atoms and Molecules (2nd Edition)

Physics of Atoms and Molecules (2nd Edition) Lowest new price: $63.99
Lowest used price: $40.00
List price: $228.00
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.


  • Addison-Wesley

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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: $53.68
Lowest used price: $28.38
List price: $144.00
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.


  • Used Book in Good Condition

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Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos

Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos Lowest new price: $11.08
Lowest used price: $2.00
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Author: Isaac Asimov
Brand: 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.


  • Atom Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos

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Laser Cooling and Trapping (Graduate Texts in Contemporary Physics)

Laser Cooling and Trapping (Graduate Texts in Contemporary Physics) Lowest new price: $53.31
Lowest used price: $37.79
List price: $69.95
Author: Harold J. Metcalf
Brand: Harold J Metcalf

Intended for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduates with some basic knowledge of optics and quantum mechanics, this text begins with a review of the relevant results of quantum mechanics, before turning to the electromagnetic interactions involved in slowing and trapping atoms and ions, in both magnetic and optical traps. The concluding chapters discuss a broad range of applications, from atomic clocks and studies of collision processes, to diffraction and interference of atomic beams at optical lattices and Bose-Einstein condensation.


  • Laser Cooling And Trapping

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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: $21.38
Lowest used price: $17.61
List price: $24.00
Author: Arieh Ben-Naim

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.

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Electric-Dipole Polarizabilities Of Atoms, Molecules, And Clusters

Electric-Dipole Polarizabilities Of Atoms, Molecules, And Clusters Lowest new price: $56.00
List price: $56.00
Author: Keith D Bonin

This book is an in-depth review of experiment and theory on electric-dipole polarizabilities. It is broad in scope, encompassing atomic, molecular, and cluster polarizabilities. Both static and dynamic polarizabilities are treated (in the absence of absorption) and a full tensor picture of the polarizability is used. Traditional experimental techniques for measuring electric polarizabilities are described in detail. Recently developed experimental methods, including light forces, position-sensitive time-of-flight deflection, and atom interferometry, are also extensively discussed. Theoretical techniques for calculating polarizabilities are reviewed, including a discussion on the use of Gaussian basis sets. Many important comparisons between theory and experiment are summarized in an extensive set of tables of polarizabilities of important atoms, molecules, and clusters. Applications of polarizabilities to many areas of chemistry and physics are described, including optics, chemical structure, interactions of gases and particles with surfaces, and the interaction of molecules with light. The emphasis is on a lucid presentation of the ideas and results with up-to-date discussions on important applications such as optical tweezers and nanostructure fabrication. This book provides an excellent overview of the importance of polarizabilities in understanding the physical, electronic, and optical properties of particles in a regime that goes from free atoms to condensed-phase clusters.

Atoms, Electrons, and Change: A Scientific American Library Book

Atoms, Electrons, and Change: A Scientific American Library Book Lowest new price: $24.59
Lowest used price: $1.55
List price: $32.95
Author: P. W. Atkins
Brand: Freeman

A century and a half ago the pioneering physicist and chemist Michael Faraday delivered a celebrated series of lectures that attempted to explain the inner workings of matter through the chemical history of a candle. "There is no better, there is no more open door by which you can enter into the study of natural philosophy", Faraday told his audience. Now the distinguished chemist P.W. Atkins follows in Faraday's footsteps, using his predecessor's deceptively simple theme to show how far we have come in understanding the remarkable chemical reactions that govern everything from how candles burn to how life functions. While Faraday could say little more than that a chemical reaction changes a substance's appearance and properties, chemists today understand reactions in terms of the rearrangement of atoms and electrons. Atkins - tracing the course of a carbon atom released by a flaming candle - explores the complex forces that operate at the atomic and sub atomic levels to drive these rearrangements.


  • Used Book in Good Condition

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Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics Handbook

Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics Handbook Lowest new price: $37.99
Lowest used price: $6.55
List price: $149.00

Market: Graduate students and professionals in atomic, molecular, and optical physics, as well as those in condensed matter and plasma physics, chemistry, and engineering. This indispensable new resource from AIP Press is the first single volume to bridge the many interrelated disciplines of atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physics. Along with a summary of key ideas, techniques, and results, many chapters offer you diagrams of apparatus, graphs, and table of data. From atomic spectroscopy to applications in comets, you'll find contributions from over 100 authors, all leaders in their respective disciplines. Available on CD- ROM

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