Faust In Copenhagen
A Struggle for the Soul of Physics and the Birth of the Nuclear Age
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In 1932, the so-called annus mirabilis of modern physics, a group of scientists gathered in Copenhagen for a week-long conference on the extraordinary new work that was taking place in laboratories across the world; work that would ultimately lead to the development of nuclear weapons and the ensuing international power struggles.
Segrè's erudite and impressive account explores this crucial moment in history through the lives and careers of seven physicists sitting in the front row of the Copenhagen meeting. Six of them were already in the pantheon of genius while the seventh - Max Delbrück - was the author of a skit performed at the conference that lightly parodied the struggle between the old and new theories of physics and eerily foreshadowed the events that were to unfold in the struggle between peaceful uses of scientific discovery and destructive ones.
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