Since the 1930s, the scale of scientific endeavors has grown exponentially. Machines have become larger, ambitions bolder. The first particle accelerator cost less than $100 and could be held in its creator's palm while its descendant, the Large Hadron Collider, cost $10 billion and is 17 miles in circumference. Scientists have invented nuclear weapons, put a man on the moon, and examined nature at the subatomic scale - all through Big Science, the industrial-scale research paid for by governments and corporations that have driven the great scientific projects of our time.
The birth of Big Science can be traced to Berkeley, California, nearly nine decades ago, when a resourceful young scientist with a talent for physics and an even greater talent for promotion pondered his new invention and declared, "I'm going to be famous!" Ernest Orlando Lawrence's cyclotron would revolutionize nuclear physics, but that was only the beginning of its impact. It would change our understanding of the basic building blocks of nature. It would help win World War II. Its influence would be felt in academia and international politics. It was the beginning of Big Science. This is the incredible story of how one invention changed the world and of the man principally responsible for it all. Michael Hiltzik tells the riveting full story here for the first time.
"In this fascinating book, Michael Hiltzik gives us the inside story of this remarkable metamorphosis. This is a gripping biography of Big Science and of the people who originated it.” (Mario Livio, astrophysicist and author of Brilliant Blunders)
“Michael Hiltzik tells an epic story, one with arenas of tragedy as well as triumph, and he tells it well.” (Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian)
"Michael Hiltzik sheds fresh light on the transition from small science to big science that we take for granted today.” (George Dyson, author of Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe)
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An informative and thought-provoking book
- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."
informative and very interesting
Lawrence was clearly a towering figure in the history of accelerator and nuclear physics. He combined science, engineering, management and political skills to create and advance big scientific projects. In fact he eventually drove himself to death in those pursuits. The background historical information of this book is illuminating. The fast paced narration is an asset.