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A Short History of Physics in the American Century by David C. Cassidy

By David C. Cassidy

Because the 20th century drew to an in depth, pcs, the net, and nanotechnology have been principal to trendy American existence. but the advances in physics underlying those functions are poorly understood and largely underappreciated through U.S. electorate at the present time. during this concise assessment, David C. Cassidy sharpens our point of view on smooth physics through viewing this foundational technology in the course of the lens of America’s engagement with the political occasions of a tumultuous century.American physics first stirred within the 1890s—around the time x-rays and radioactivity have been came upon in Germany—with the founding of graduate colleges at the German version. but American examine lagged at the back of the good ecu laboratories until eventually powerful family guidelines, including the exodus of physicists from fascist international locations, introduced the state into the 1st ranks of worldwide study within the Thirties. The production of the atomic bomb and radar in the course of international conflict II ensured lavish govt aid for particle physics, in addition to computation, solid-state physics, and armed forces communique. those advances facilitated house exploration and ended in the worldwide enlargement of the Internet.Well into the Sixties, physicists reinforced the U.S.’ foreign prestige, and the country repaid the desire via big outlays of federal, army, and philanthropic investment. yet steadily the US relinquished its postwar dedication to clinical management, and the state stumbled on itself suffering to take care of a aggressive facet in technological know-how schooling and examine. this present day, American physicists, depending totally on business investment, needs to compete with smaller, scrappier countries reason on writing their very own short heritage of physics within the twenty-first century.

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While African-Americans encountered blatant racism, segregation, and the after-effects of long-term slavery, Asians were generally excluded from migration to the United States until after the World War II, except when they were needed for the railroad and other labor-intensive projects. Aside from the immoral and impractical aspects of these practices, it is sad to think of the potential lost 44 American Physics Comes of Age contributions these and other groups could have made to American society and science, and that, by their underrepresentation, they are failing to make even today.

Oppenheimer was enthralled. But at age 22, only two years younger than Dirac, Oppenheimer still did not have the grounding in theoretical research that would enable him to participate.

But as the nation entered the postwar world of the 1920s, the status of American physics as an equal partner was hampered by its obvious secondrate position on the international stage behind Europe, and especially behind the nation’s number-one wartime enemy— Germany. m. on November 11, 1918, the guns fell silent across the Western Front. The peeling of church bells rang out the Armistice across the United States. The war to end all wars had suddenly reached an end. Within a month, now Lt. Col.

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