Almost everyone has a hobby. Reading is mine. I read about many things, but science, biography and history are the subjects I prefer. Over the last several years, I have accumulated a great many books. Of course I haven’t read them all but I have read a lot of them. Occasionally I find one that is difficult for me to put down because the more I read it, the more interesting it becomes.
I found just such a book as I was browsing through my books the other day. The book’s title was Men Who Made A New Physics. The author, Barbara Lovett Cline, did an outstanding job of pointing out the great discoveries in science through the years and the scientists who made them. She wrote that the renouned physicist Albert Einstein and his contemporary Niels Bohr were a number of years at odds about the basic structure of matter but both contributed greatly to the field of science.
Einstein of course discovered both the special and general Theories of Relativity while Bohr delved into the subatomic structure of the atom. Much of their work took place during the first 30 years of the 1900s.
Einstein’s general theory says that energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. Light travels at 186,000 per second. Bohr, on the other hand, delved into the structure of the atom and came up with the Quantum Theory.
At one time the atom was thought to be the smallest particle but Bohr’s work indicates that there are particles much smaller. Large cyclotrons are now being used to find various particles.
There was some controversy about whether matter consisted as a wave or in a particle state. Now it is thought to depend on the circumstances as to which one more accurately describes it. Of course, there were many other great men who contributed to the advance of science.
The new physics contrasts somewhat with Isaac Newton’s work, especially on large-scale applications.
The book, Men Who Made A New Physics, was truly and interesting read.