Tag "physics"
ALBERT EINSTEIN: 1879-1955 (Jun, 1955)


Tributes by Niels Bohr and I. I. Rabi

With the death of Albert Einstein, a life in the service of science and humanity which was as rich and fruitful as any in the whole history of our culture has come to an end. Mankind will always be indebted to Einstein for the removal of the obstacles to our outlook which were involved in the primitive notions of absolute space and time. He gave us a world picture with a unity and harmony surpassing the boldest dreams of the past.

Oddities of Physics (Oct, 1937)

Oddities of Physics

Science is much closer to our daily lives than many of us believe. Some of the simplest phenomena and everyday occurrences which do not strike one as of any particular interest, abound with scientific explanations.

Scientists Finally Find Long-Sought “Ghost” Particle Inside Atom (Jul, 1954)

This piece is talking about is the Cowan–Reines neutrino experiment which  garnered a Nobel prize in 1995.

It’s almost right. Neutrinos have zero electric charge, not practically none. They’re called neutrinos because they are electrically neutral. It means little neutral ones. There are actually three different types and although it was not proven until the late 1990’s, neutrinos do have a very, very small mass. Scientist know this because of  a process called neutrino oscillation (rather complex explanation). Unfortunately this process also makes it very hard to determine the masses of individual neutrinos.

There is an excellent episode of Nova called The Ghost Particle about the search for neutrinos. You can view a low-res version online here.

Scientists Finally Find Long-Sought “Ghost” Particle Inside Atom

At last scientists have trapped an atomic “ghost” particle that has eluded them for years. The particle is the neutrino. The chase began 20 years ago when scientists were forced to acknowledge the existence of the particle if their atomic theories were correct. Neutrinos are so small that they have practically no mass or electric charge. No direct evidence of the neutrino was found until the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory devised a scintillation counter that was thousands of times more sensitive than any other device to reactions caused by neutrinos.


Well, he wasn’t misquoted. According to wikipedia he said:

“There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. The glib supposition of utilizing atomic energy when our coal has run out is a completely unscientific Utopian dream, a childish bug-a-boo. Nature has introduced a few fool-proof devices into the great majority of elements that constitute the bulk of the world, and they have no energy to give up in the process of disintegration.” – 1928 at the Chemists’ Club (New York)

He also got the first Physics Ph.D from Columbia and discovered the mass and charge of the electron, which won him the Nobel prize in 1923 so I guess we can cut him a little slack.


OPINIONS of some natural scientists that man will some day be able to break down atoms and derive power from the energy contained within them were given a set-back recently when Dr. Robert A. Millikan, famous physicist, declared that experiments led him to believe that man will never have any other source of energy than the sun. Radiation from Old Sol is the source of all energy now used by man.

Are X-Rays Outclassed by Powerful New “Odic Ray”? (Mar, 1922)

Are X-Rays Outclassed by Powerful New “Odic Ray”?

DISCOVERY of “odic rays” of high penetration produced simply by the electric current drawn from an ordinary light socket, and yet with the curative and medicinal value of X-rays, is claimed by Dr. Edgar L. Hollingshead, of Pasadena, Calif.

With simple, inexpensive apparatus he is reported to have passed rays through 11-1/2 inches of lead and 4-1/2 inches of steel, at such strength as to sear dental X-ray films encased in tinfoil.

These Fabulous Tools Unlock the Atom’s Secrets (Aug, 1953)

Scientists are still building ever more powerful particle accelerators. The Large Hadron Collider is supposed to come online this year and is expected to make some major discoveries. For comparison the most powerful accelerator at the time of this article was about 6 bev. Or 6 billion electron volts. The LCH will collide two beams each with 7 tev (trillion electron volts) making it about 20,000 times more powerful.

If you haven’t seen pictures of the ATLAS detector yet, you really should check them out. It really is an engineering marvel. Plus when it was being built it looked like some kind of trans-dimensional portal.

These Fabulous Tools Unlock the Atom’s Secrets

By Thomas E. Stimson, Jr.

THE RESEARCH TEAMS that discovered atomic energy are probing deeper into the heart of the atom today and there’s a good chance that other exciting, though unpredictable, discoveries will be made.

Basically, the physicists are trying to find the true fundamental particles of which the atom (and hence the universe) is composed.

Once it was thought that the atom itself answered this definition; now it is known that the atom contains a bundle of assorted particles or bits of energy in its structure.

Columbia Gets Cyclotron (May, 1939)

And just last month, Columbia decided to get rid of the cyclotron.

Columbia Gets Cyclotron

Shown above is Columbia University’s new 150,000-pound cyclotron, the huge electrical apparatus which fires atomic “bullets” at a 25,000-mile-per-second speed to perform modern alchemy by changing one chemical element into another. Detailed study of nuclear forces, which are the ultimate forces that hold the materials of the universe together, will be one of the first tasks undertaken by Columbia physicists with the cyclotron.

WHAT IS A QUANTUM? (Dec, 1930)


By PAUL R. HEYL, Ph.D. Physicist United States Bureau of Standards, Author of “The New Frontier of Physics”, Contributing Editor Scientific American

“Do you remember,” said the visitor, “when I came here some time ago, asking you to tell me what an atom was?”

“Yes,” said the scientist, “and I could not do it.”

“Perhaps you did better than you thought. Now I have another question to ask you.”

“I hope it is something easier this time.”

“Well, it isn’t about Einstein. I only want to know what the quantum theory is all about. What is a quantum, anyway?”

“You do not seem to be getting any more moderate in your demands,” said the scientist. “How much do you know about it, to begin with?”