Cover: Nuclear Forces: The Making of the Physicist Hans Bethe, from Harvard University PressCover: Nuclear Forces in HARDCOVER

Nuclear Forces

The Making of the Physicist Hans Bethe

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Product Details


$40.00 • £32.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674065871

Publication Date: 06/18/2012


608 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

21 halftones


Nuclear Forces is a highly readable account of a remarkable period in physics, tracing the future Nobel laureate through his formative years and up to the eve of World War II.—Manjit Kumar, The Wall Street Journal

Nuclear Forces, by the distinguished physicist Silvan Schweber, tells the story of the first three decades of Bethe’s life and career, up to the time of his Nobel Prize–winning work on nuclear reactions in stars. But the book offers much more besides, with a history of the development of physics—atomic, solid-state and nuclear—in the first third of the twentieth century, and of the institutions in which Bethe worked. Schweber’s analysis of the physics is the book’s great strength.—Frank Cose, Nature

Through many interviews and a friendship going back fifty years, Schweber gives us a rare glimpse into the personal and professional life of this great man. The biography achieves the rare goal of being both scholarly and engaging.—Ashutosh Jogalekar, Scientific American blog

A detailed and thoroughly researched study of Bethe’s development as a scientist and as a human being… Schweber has trawled [Bethe’s] correspondence [with Rudolf Peierls], together with Bethe’s voluminous archive, with the finest of gauzes, and the result is a richly detailed picture of his life. Schweber tells it with compassion and admiration, although Nuclear Forces is no hagiography… This is a deeply rewarding book… [It’s] an insightful account of how Hans Bethe became, in the constellation of 20th-century physicists, one of its most luminous stars.—Graham Farmelo, Times Higher Education

Schweber, a physicist and historian of physics, provides an engaging account of the life of Hans Bethe… The book essentially ends just before the beginning of WW II. It gives the intellectual, cultural, and scientific background needed to understand Bethe’s scientific work and his advocacy for control of nuclear weapons after the war.—M. Dickinson, Choice

Schweber’s account of Hans Bethe’s life through his Nobel Prize–winning 1938 work on energy generation in stars reveals the origins of a charismatic scientist, grounded in the importance of his parents and his Jewish roots… [Schweber] recreates the social world that shaped the character of the last of the memorable young scientists who established the field of quantum mechanics.Publishers Weekly

Nuclear Forces is a carefully researched, historically and biographically insightful account of the development of a profession and of one of its leading representatives during a century in which physics and physicists played key roles in scientific, cultural, political, and military developments.—David C. Cassidy, author of A Short History of Physics in the American Century

[Bethe was] the supreme problem solver of the twentieth century.—Freeman Dyson

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