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Physics was the leading science of the twentieth century and the book retraces important discoveries, made between 1895 and 2001, in 100 self-contained episodes. Each is a short story of the scientists involved, their time, and their work. Together they form a mosaic of modern physics: formulating relativity and quantum mechanics, finding the constituents of matter and unravelling the forces between them, understanding the working of conductors and semiconductors, discovering and explaining macroscopic quantum effects (superconductivity, superfluidity, quantum Hall effect), developing novel experimental techniques like the Geiger counter and particle accelerators, building revolutionary applications like the transistor and the laser, and observing astonishing features of our cosmos (expanding universe, cosmic background radiation). The text is intended for easy reading. Occasionally, a more thorough discussion of experimental set-ups and theoretical concepts is presented in special boxes for readers interested in more detail. Episodes contain extensive references to biographies and original scientific literature. The book is richly illustrated by about 600 portraits, photographs, and figures.
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Siegmund Brandt is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Siegen. Born in Berlin in 1936, he studied in Bonn under Wolfgang Paul. For his diploma (1959) he built a small bubble chamber, detecting particles produced by the Bonn synchrotron. The subject of his Ph.D thesis (1963) was the production of strange particles in a hydrogen bubble chamber at CERN in Geneva, where he worked from 1961 to 1965. In 1966 he became Privatdozent at the University of Heidelberg, continuing particle-physics research with bubble chambers at CERN and at DESY in Hamburg. In 1972 Brandt moved to the new university in Siegen as a member of the Foundation Senate. With his group he participated in experiments using large electronic detectors at electron-positron colliders at DESY, in which the gluon was found, and later in an experiment at the LEP collider at CERN, which concentrated on production and properties of the heavy bosons W and Z.
"The reader is taken through many fundamental discoveries, which are always described in a very appealing style. The book is profusely illustrated with photographs of the main players and respective apparatus, often complemented by pedagogical diagrams, and includes detailed references to
original publications. It provides a stimulating way of learning about the basic concepts of modern physics and how they were brought to life. Once you start reading this book, it is difficult to stop."
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