London: Harrison & Sons, 1929. 1st Edition. Handsomely rebound FIRST EDITION of 2 Important papers Atkinson & Houtermans’ SEMINAL PAPER CONCLUDING THAT QUANTUM TUNNELING MAY ALLOW FOR THE GENERATION OF ENERGY IN STARS THROUGH NUCLEAR FUSION with 1st ed. OF THE MOST ACCURATE ESTIMATE OF THE AGE OF THE EARTH TO THAT TIME & THE FIRST AGE DETERMINATION BASED ON ISOTOPE RATIOS. Also included: Michelson presents a more precise repetition of the famous Michelson-Morley ether experiment.
ATKINSON: This paper establishes"the physical possibility of thermonuclear reaction in the interior of stars was established" (Brandt, Harvest, 259). In applying the Gamow factor to explore fusion reactions in stars, Atkinson and Houterman are able to present the first calculation of stellar thermonuclear reactions."The Houterman-Atkinson theory was a quantitative theory based on the most recent quantum mechanical knowledge. The theory counts among the pioneering contributions to modern astrophysics, but at first it attracted little attention" (Kragh, 183).
“Results from early nuclear physics research, in particular the discovery of the enormous energy stored in nuclei, led astrophysicists to suspect that reactions among nuclear species were the source of the energy in stars. This suspicion, coupled with the discovery of the tunneling effect by Gamow (1928) prompted Atkinson and Houtermans to [here] produce the first qualitative theoretical treatment of the problem.
“Atkinson and Houtermans suggested that the nucleus acts as a sort of trap and cooking pot combined, catching four protons and two electrons in such a way that a helium nucleus is finally cooked with the release of a large amount of energy” (Barnes, Essays, 171). “The thermal energy of protons in the centre of the sun was sufficient to provoke nuclear reactions" (Brandt, 259).
RUTHERFORD: Rutherford's paper "may be the first paper on astronomy with radioactivity" (Diehl, Astronomy with Radioactivities, 38). For hundreds of years, scientists had attempted to determine the age of the Earth, but it was not until the discovery of radioactivity at the close of the 19th century that the possibility of a physical estimate became possible. "When [Ernest Rutherford] began to think on these things, [he] concluded. that uranium was created somehow within the sun and transported to earth" (Dairymple, The Age of the Earth, 387). Rutherford operated from the assumption that, at formation, equal amounts of 238U and 235U (whose presence if first predicted here) were present. He then used the rigorous and systematic process of radioactive age-dating - studying the radioactive decay of uranium to lead in the Earth's crust. The first to employ the "use of certain radioactive nuclides to determine the history of nucleosynthesis, or creation of the elements", Rutherford then used that information to [in this paper] "calculate the length of time required to produce the present abundance ratio of a pair of nuclides, called a chronometer pair, from its original, or theoretical, production ratio" (ibid). As said, the result obtained, 3.4 million years was "the first age determination based on isotope ratios" (Magill). Item #1622
CONDITION: Complete volume. 4to. (263 x 188mm). , lxi, , 1004, . Ex-libris with two stamps on the title page and no exterior markings whatsoever. In-text illustrations throughout. Handsomely rebound in half calf , gilt-lettered at the spine; tightly and very solidly bound. Five gilt-ruled raised bands at the spine; each compartment gilt tooled. Bright and clean throughout. Near fine condition in every way.