Lancaster: American Institute of Physics, 1939. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION OF THREE LANDMARK PAPERS, each of seminal import in the history of physics. 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.
Oppenheimer and his graduate student Hartland Snyder applied General Relativity theory to a star with sufficient mass and density to exceed the Schwartzschild limit. The Schwartzschild analysis assumed that the size of the star stays constant with time. Oppenheimer and Snyder found that they could achieve a real solution from General Relativity when the Schwartzschild limit is exceeded by assuming that the diameter of the star decreases with time. They presented their analysis in this paper, concluding "When all thermonuclear sources of energy are exhausted, a sufficiently heavy star will collapse. Unless fission due to rotation, the radiation of mass, or the blowing off of mass by radiation, reduce the star's mass to the order of that of the sun, this contraction will continue indefinitely."
This analysis concluded that when the Schwartzschild limit is exceeded, the star must collapse indefinitely until it reaches a singularity having an infinite density of matter" (Bjornson, Singularity Predictions of General Relativity, P. 4). The Chandrasekhar / Eddington controvery in the mid 1930s discussed the fate of neutron stars, but the first thoroughly theoretical description was first published here.
Also included: 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… 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).
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 #104
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.