Lancaster: American Institute of Physics, 1939. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION OF THREE SEMINAL PAPERS IN THE HISTORY OF PHYSICS. BOHR & WHEELER'S "The mechanism of nuclear fission" is the first fully worked out theory of nuclear fission and it laid the groundwork for atomic and hydrogen bombs.
"The paper is a masterpiece of clear thinking and lucid writing. It reveals, at the center of the mystery of fission, a tiny world where everything can be calculated and everything understood. The tiny world is a nucleus of uranium 236, formed when a neutron is freshly captured by a nucleus of uranium 235. The uranium 236 nucleus sits precisely on the border between classical and quantum physics."
By studying this process in detail, they show how the complementary views provided by classical and quantum pictures are both essential to the understanding of nature. Without the combined power of classical and quantum concepts, the intricacies of the fission process could never have been understood. Bohr's notion of complementarity is triumphantly vindicated" (Barrow, Science and Ultimate Reality, xvii).
Also included are two other important papers on nuclear fission and the atomic bomb, also by Bohr. OPPENHEIMER & SNYDER'S "On continued gravitational contraction" constitutes the very first theoretical prediction of a singularity when a sufficiently large neutron star collapses. This phenomenon was later to be coined as a black hole. "Had J. Robert Oppenheimer not led the US effort to build the atomic bomb, he might still have been remembered for figuring out how a black hole could form" (American Physical Society). This paper has been described as the forgotten birth of black holes.
FEYNMAN'S "Forces in molecules" is the first edition of Feynman's undergraduate thesis, the paper that began to establish his name in physics. The paper is known as the Feynman-Hellmann theorem and it proposed an original and enduring approach to calculating forces in molecules. Feynman "treated the problem of molecular forces from a thoroughly quantum-mechanical point of view, arriving at a simple means of calculating the energy of a molecular system that continues to guide quantum chemists" (DSB). Item #103
CONDITION & DETAILS: Lancaster: American Institute of Physics, 1939. Royal 8vo. (10.5 x 8 inches); 267 x 203 mm. Entire volume in contemporary full black cloth, gilt-lettered at the spine. Ex-libris with minimal markings. Very light and slight ghosting at the spine from the removal of a label. Small perforated stamp at the foot of the title page. Tightly and very solidly bound. Bright and very clean throughout. Near fine condition.