Lancaster: American Physical Society, 1939. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPS OF TWO SEMINAL PAPERS IN THE HISTORY OF PHYSICS. Two other papers by Oppenheimer, Bohr, and Wheeler wherein they were able to confirm the findings in the first two papers are included in another issue, this too in original wraps. Of the papers in the first issue, 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. BOHR & WHEELER'S "The Fission of Protactinium" demonstrates that the fission of protactinium agreed with their predictions in "Mechanism of Nuclear Fission." OPPENHEIMER & SCHWINGER'S "On pair emission" wherein they explain the observed effect as the existence of vacuum polarization, the virtual creation, for short periods of time, of electron-positron pairs. Item #367
CONDITION & DETAILS: Lancaster: American Institute of Physics, 1939. Royal 8vo. (10.5 x 8 inches); 267 x 203 mm. Two full issues, each in original paper wraps. Very slight edge wear; the second issue (the less important of the two), Issue 10, has a small amount of darkening around the edges (something common to Physical Reviews in original wraps). It is minor. Issue 10 also has two small and very, very light ex-libris stamps on the cover; Issue 5 is NOT ex-libris. Both issues are tightly and very solidly bound; both are bright and very clean throughout. Issue 5 is in fine condition. Issue 10 in very good condition.