An unprecedented explosion of creativity, insight, and breakthrough occurred in every field of science in the last century. These discoveries profoundly changed the way we understand the world and our place in it. Now physicist and novelist Lightman tells the stories of two dozen of the most seminal discoveries. He paints the intellectual and emotional landscape of each discovery, portrays the personalities and human drama of the scientists involved, and explains the significance and impact of the work. He explores such questions as whether there were common patterns of research, whether the discoveries were accidental or intentional, and whether the scientists were aware of or oblivious to the significance of what they had found. Finally, Lightman gives a guided tour through each of the original papers, which are included in the book.--From publisher description.
The quantum Hormones The particle nature of light Special relativity The nucleus of the atom The size of the cosmos The arrangement of atoms in solid matter The quantum atom The means of communication between nerves The uncertainty principle The chemical bond The expansion of the universe Antibiotics The means of production of energy in living organisms Nuclear fission The movability of genes The structure of DNA The structure of proteins Radio waves from the big bang A unified theory of forces Quarks : a tiniest essence of matter The creation of altered forms of life.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -526) and index.