Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention that Launched the Military-Industrial Complex
by: Simon & Schuster
Product rating: 4.0 with 4 reviews
From a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and Los Angeles Times
contributor, the untold story of how science went “big,” built the bombs that helped win World War II, and became dependent on government and industry—and the forgotten genius who started it all, Ernest Lawrence.
Since the 1930s, the scale of scientific endeavors has grown exponentially. Machines have become larger, ambitions bolder. The first particle accelerator cost less than one hundred dollars and could be held in its creator’s palm, while its descendant, the Large Hadron Collider, cost ten billion dollars and is seventeen miles in circumference. Scientists have invented nuclear weapons, put a man on the moon, and examined nature at the subatomic scale—all through Big Science, the industrial-scale research paid for by governments and corporations that have driven the great scientific projects of our time.
The birth of Big Science can be traced to Berkeley, California, nearly nine decades ago, when a resourceful young scientist with a talent for physics and an even greater talent for promotion pondered his new invention and declared, “I’m going to be famous!” Ernest Orlando Lawrence’s cyclotron would revolutionize nuclear physics, but that was only the beginning of its impact. It would change our understanding of the basic building blocks of nature. It would help win World War II. Its influence would be felt in academia and international politics. It was the beginning of Big Science.
This is the incredible story of how one invention changed the world and of the man principally responsible for it all. Michael Hiltzik tells the riveting full story here for the first time.
Posted in Scientists Tagged with: Complex, Ernest, Invention, Launched, Lawrence, Military-Industrial, Science, Simon & Schuster, That
Genius At Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway
by: Bloomsbury USA
Product rating: 4.4 with 7 reviews
Conway is a creative genius.” –Martin Gardner
An unabashed original, John Horton Conway is Archimedes, Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, and Richard Feynman all rolled into one–a singular mathematician, with a rock star’s charisma, a sly sense of humor, a polymath’s promiscuous curiosity, and a burning desire to explain everything about the world to everyone in it.
Born in Liverpool in 1937, Conway found fame as a barefoot Cambridge professor. He discovered the Conway groups in mathematical symmetry, and invented the aptly named surreal numbers, as well as the cult classic Game of Life–more than a cool fad, Life demonstrates how simplicity generates complexity and the game provides an analogy for all mathematics and the entire universe. Moving to Princeton in 1987, as a mathemagician he deployed cards, ropes, dice, coat hangers, and even the odd Slinky as props to extend his winning imagination and share his mathy obsessions with signature contagion. He is a jet-setting ambassador-at-large for the beauties of all things mathematical.
Genius At Play is an intimate investigation into the mind of an endearing genius, laying bare Conway’s personal and professional idiosyncrasies. The intimacy comes courtesy of the man himself. He generously granted Roberts full access, though not without the occasional grudge and grumble: “Oh hell,” he’d say. “You’re not going to put that in the book. Are you?!?
Posted in Scientists Tagged with: Bloomsbury USA, Conway, Curious, Genius, Horton, John, Mind, Play