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Taming the atom : the emergence of the visible microworld

Author: Hans Christian Von Baeyer
Publisher: New York : Random House, ©1992.
Edition/Format:   Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The atomic hypothesis - that the universe consists of innumerable tiny particles in ceaseless motion - traces its roots to Greek antiquity, but until recently individual atoms remained theoretical conceptions far removed from the senses. Now technology has reached down into the abstract realm of the atom, and made it accessible to our eyes and fingertips. We have learned to catch, photograph, touch, and even modify
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Genre/Form: Popular works
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Von Baeyer, Hans Christian.
Taming the atom.
New York : Random House, c1992
(OCoLC)610580198
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Hans Christian Von Baeyer
ISBN: 0679400397 9780679400394 0679765344 9780679765349
OCLC Number: 25369298
Description: xxv, 223 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm.
Contents: The Past. 1. The Enduring Idea of Atomism. 2. The Components of the Atom. 3. Quantum Mechanics: The Language of the Atom --
The Present. 4. Images of Atoms. 5. The Atomic Landscape. 6. Atoms in Isolation. 7. Atoms and the Void. 8. Atoms in Action. 9. Counting the Atoms --
The Future. 10. Atomic Standards. 11. Large-Scale Quantum Mechanics. 12. In Search of the Missing Rung. 13. Quantum Reality. 14. The Next Revolution.
Responsibility: Hans Christian von Baeyer.
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Abstract:

The atomic hypothesis - that the universe consists of innumerable tiny particles in ceaseless motion - traces its roots to Greek antiquity, but until recently individual atoms remained theoretical conceptions far removed from the senses. Now technology has reached down into the abstract realm of the atom, and made it accessible to our eyes and fingertips. We have learned to catch, photograph, touch, and even modify atoms one by one. Thus, for the first time since the.

philosopher Democritus imagined it more than two thousand years ago, the atomic landscape has been revealed in lavish beauty, as in the cover illustration from the scanning tunneling micrograph shown below, which depicts a baker's dozen of iodine atoms bonded together in six-fold symmetry, with a gaping hole glowing yellow where one of their number is missing. This picture represents a completely new perception of physical reality. It is the interface between the.

familiar macroscopic world and the microworld of elementary particles, where experience and intuition clash with the tantalizing paradoxes of quantum theory, marking the gateway to a mysterious inner territory that is as fascinating as outer space. Today the unsettling contrast between the notion of the atom as an ordinary object that we can see and touch, and as a quantum mechanical specter, has taken on a new urgency. "Nobody understands quantum mechanics," complained.

the great American physicist Richard Feynman, and he meant to include himself. The quantum theory of matter that predicts the properties of atoms in exquisite detail describes a world where probability replaces certainty, where an object can be in two places at once, and conventional logic fails. This world, once the subject of intense philosophical debate among such scientists as Einstein, Schrodinger, and de Broglie, has finally been unveiled. Experiments that had.

previously been carried out in a physicist's imagination and associated only with the hidden world of the infinitesimally small can now be demonstrated in the laboratory, signaling that we may be on the verge of a scientific revolution. Just below the atomic surfaces that appear so close lies an alien reality that defies common sense. The only way to understand the atom is to become familiar with it - by taming it, the way you tame an unruly pet. In graceful, simple.

language peppered with anecdotes and fascinating metaphors, Hans Christian von Baeyer, winner of the National Magazine Award in Essays and Criticism, leads the reader through the atom's fantastic history, from ancient Greece to the quantum revolution of 1925 to the frontiers of modern physics and the experiments envisioned for the future. He opens the door to a deeper understanding of the material world, and reveals a new vista to the reader's eyes and mind.

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