Abraham Pais' 'Subtle is the Lord...'--the award-winning biography of Albert Einstein--received high acclaim from The New York Times Book Review which hailed it as "a monument to sound scholarship and graceful style," and from The Christian Science Monitor which called it "an extraordinary biography of an extraordinary man."
In his groundbreaking new book, Pais chronicles the history of the physics of matter and physical forces since the discovery of x-rays. He relates not only what has happened over the last one-hundred years, but also why it happened the way it did, the experiences of the scientists involved, and how a series of seemingly bizarre or unrelated occurrences has emerged as a logical sequence of discoveries and events. Personally involved in many of the developments described, Pais provides unique insights into the world of big and small physics, revealing how the smallest distances explored between 1895 and 1983 have shrunk a hundred millionfold. Along this "road inward," scientists have made advances that later generations will rank among the principal monuments of the twentieth century.
This magisterial survey explores the discoveries made on the constituents of matter, the laws that govern them, and the forces that act on them. Demonstrating the sometimes rocky road to new insights, Pais reveals that these have been times of progress and stagnation, of order and chaos, of clarity and confusion, of belief and incredulity, of the conventional and the bizarre, as well as of revolutionaries and conservatives, of science by individuals and by consortia, of little gadgets and big machines, and of modest funds and big moneys.
'It is rare indeed to find a professional physicist who combines such historical accomplishment, a lucid and refreshing style and a deep and relaxed understanding of his subject matter...Throughout, he provides shrewd and illuminating comments on experimental practice and theory construction and on current theories in the philosophy of scientific discovery.' Times Literary Supplement
'a learned and detailed commentary on what has been discovered about the constituents of matter, the laws to which they are subject, and the forces which act on them. It is a work of real scholarship.' New Scientist
'Pais's mastery of the whole field of elementary particle physics is manifest on every page. In addition, his insight into the personalities of the actors in the story is remarkable ... It is an inimitable work.' Nature
'The history of "modern" physics has been told many times, although seldom with such insight and affection.' Times Higher Education Supplement
'In this groundbreaking new volume, Pais undertakes a history of the physics of matter and of physical forces since the discovery of X-rays ... this magisterial survey richly conveys what has been discovered about the constituents of matter, the laws to which they are subject and the forces that act on them'
europe & astronomy, 1992
Purpose and plan; PART I: 1895-1945: A HISTORY; The new rays; From uranic rays to radioactivity; The first particle; Interlude: earliest physiological discoveries; Radioactivity's three early puzzles; Pitfalls of simplicity; ß-spectra 1907-1914; Atomic structure and spectral lines; `It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity'; Nuclear physics' tender age; Quantum mechanics, an essay; First encounters with symmetry and invariance; Nuclear
physics: the age of paradox; Quantum fields, or how particles are made and how they disappear; Battling the infinite; In which the nucleus acquires a new constituent, loses an old one, reveals new forces
with new symmetries, and is explored by new experimental methods - the 1930s; PART II: THE POSTWAR YEARS: A MEMOIR; Of quantum electrodynamics' triumphs and limitations and of a new particle sobering impact; In which particle physics enters the era of big machines and big detectors and pion physics goes through ups and downs; Onset of an era: new forms of matter appear, old symmetries crumble; Essay on modern times: 1960-83; Being a conclusion that starts as epilog and ends as prolog.