By Michael Eckert
The topic of the e-book is a biography of the theoretical physicist Arnold Sommerfeld (1868-1951). even if Sommerfeld is legendary as a quantum theorist for the elaboration of the semi-classical atomic thought (Bohr-Sommerfeld version, Sommerfeld's fine-structure constant), his position within the heritage of recent physics isn't restrained to atoms and quanta.
Sommerfeld left his mark within the historical past of arithmetic, fluid mechanics, a couple of actual subdisciplines and, particularly, as founding father of a best "school" (Peter Debye, Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, Linus Pauling and Hans Bethe have been his students, to call simply the Nobel laureates between them). This biography is to a wide quantity in keeping with fundamental resource fabric (correspondence, diaries, unpublished manuscripts). it's going to be of specific curiosity to scholars who're prepared to grasp extra in regards to the ancient roots of contemporary technology.
Sommerfeld lived via turbulent instances of German heritage (Wilhelmian Empire, Weimar Republic, Nazi period). His lifestyles, for this reason, illustrates how technology and scientists practice in altering social environments. From this attitude, the biography also needs to allure readers with a common curiosity within the historical past of technology and technology.
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Additional resources for Arnold Sommerfeld: Science, Life and Turbulent Times 1868-1951
33–34. 56 However, Sommerfeld had not actually arrived at this understanding quite as instantaneously as he describes. ” He was rather undertaking the effort to establish them mechanically. The impetus thereto was the third volume of Thomson’s Mathematical and Physical Papers, which had just been published, and immediately stirred considerable interest in Königsberg. 57 Thomson ascribed these equations to the functioning of the ether, which he conceived variously, now as a kind of elastic body, now as a frictionless liquid, as it suited his purpose.
When then he also committed an error in theoretical execution, he withdrew the entry he had already submitted. However, he viewed this failure as significant enough that in his autobiographical sketch he referred to it: “The competition entry I submitted contained quite a bit that was original and, as it seemed to me at the time, new, but it was incorrect in one essential point of the conditions, and had therefore to be withdrawn. ”44 Even if he did not achieve his personal goal of winning the competition, nonetheless his work with the Königsberg ground temperature measurements constituted an important overture to his further academic career.
673–679. 45 Sommerfeld, Maschine, 1891. 15 K ön ig s b e r g R o o t s Fig. ” Sommerfeld, together with Emil Wiechert, had constructed this apparatus at the physics institute of the University of Königsberg for analysis of the Königsberg ground temperature measurements. From the temporal course of temperature at various depths, he sought to establish periodically occurring regularities that could, for example, be attributed to the cycles of sun-spot activity or other causes (Courtesy: Deutsches Museum, Munich, Archive).
Arnold Sommerfeld: Science, Life and Turbulent Times 1868-1951 by Michael Eckert