The First War of Physics by Jim Baggott

| September 5, 2013 | 0 Comments

Jim Baggott is a freelance science writer, who was once a lecturer in chemistry at the University of Reading. His written books include: Beyond Measure: Modern Physics, Philosophy and the Meaning of Quantum Theory (OUP, 2003), A Beginner’s Guide to Reality (Penguin, 2005), Quantum Story: A History in 40 Moments (OUP, 2010) and others. Today we’re gonna take a look at one of  his books called The First War of Physics: The Secret History of the Atom Bomb, 1939-1949.

Author: Jim Baggott

Hardcover: 584 pages

Publisher: Pegasus (15 Aug 2011)

ISBN-10: 1605981974

ISBN-13: 978-1605981970

Kindle edition: (US)

Reviews: customer reviews

 

Rating: ★★★★  Rank: 542,196  US version  UK version

For many reasons the 5th decade of the 20th century should be marked black in the history of science. First of all, the 2nd world war used the most advanced technologies known at that time, secondly, the 5th decade marked the creation of the atom bomb. The creation of the atom bomb marked a beginning of a new order in the world after the great war and eventually played a major role in the cold war. In The First War of Physics, Baggott tells the story of the atom bomb, focusing on years 1939-1949.

The subject of the development of the atom bomb has been covered thoroughly in literature, which is obvious from the sheer number of books dedicated to the Manhattan Project. The other side of the story — the Soviet nuclear program — is still mostly unknown to many people. The unique aspect of the book is that it goes over and beyond what most other popular books did — Baggott aims to describe the detailed story of the atom bomb, as it happened all around the globe, using the information from the American, British and Soviet archives.

Needless to say, the book, besides the historical facts, also focuses on the lives of the great physicists, who played a role in the creation of the deadly weapon. This part of the book uncovers the double-sided lives of the scientists, who, besides tackling the mysteries of the atom, often played important, yet often overlooked, roles in the history of the world’s strongest countries. First War of Physics, follows the lives of Robert Oppenheimer, Otto Frisch, Werner Heisenberg, Edward Teller and others.

Overall, the book stands out from other similar books, due to its length and completeness. It gives an overview of the story of the atom bomb, covering it from all different angles. All of this is done using information from the archives. Thus it is recommended for anyone, who’s looking for a solid and a thorough overview of the subject.

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Category: Physics Books

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