1930. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION of Rossi’s important improvement of coincidence counters, also the first practical application of an AND (digital logic gate) gate anywhere, even prior to their use in computers. Rossi’s invention was so powerful that it was able to depict for the first time the production of showers of secondary particles; his work set the new standard for the field. Rossi’s “coincidence circuitry forms the basis of all the electronic counter experiments that today record the creation of many particles in man-made high-energy collisions” (Close, Particle Odyssey, 53).
Cosmic rays are energetic particles originating outside earth’s atmosphere. “The ability to detect low levels of ionization makes the geiger counter ideal for studying the high-energy cosmic rays” (ibid, 52). Even the smallest amount of ionization would produce a signal from a Geiger counter, but “the tubes form a still more powerful tool when two or more are used together” (ibid). A pair of Geiger counters recording both passage and direction of a charged particle is termed a “coincidence counter.”
And Bruno Rossi did just that. Walther Bothe had won the Nobel Prize in 1954 for his creation of the first coincidence counter, but Rossi greatly improved upon it. In 1930, he saw a way “of using electronic valves – the predecessors of today’s transistors – to register coincident pulses from the Geiger counters” (ibid, 53). Rossi developed an improved coincidence counter using multiple standard triode vacuum tubes connected so as to amplify the signals from multiple Geiger counters. His design was better than Bothe’s because it could handle a large number of inputs and was more accurate and easily replicated, and so became the standard for most coincidence counters in the future, including Blackett and Occhialini’s famous counter controlled cloud chamber. Rossi went on to use his improved counter to study the effect of the earth’s magnetic field on cosmic rays, and this is described elsewhere.
ALSO present in this volume is a report of a lecture Einstein delivered in 1930, “The Concept of Space.” This is referred to as Einstein’s paper throughout the literature, but it is in fact a report of the lecture. In this paper, Einstein noted “’We have now come to the conclusion that space is the primary thing and matter only secondary; we may say that space, in revenge for its former inferior position, is now eating up matter.’ A few years following the publication of Einstein’s thought, Erwin Schrödinger restated the basic insight. ‘What we observe as material bodies and forces,’ he noted, ‘are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space’” (Laszio, Quantum Shift, 93). Item #465
CONDITION & DETAILS: Complete full volume. Ex-libris with a pictorial bookplate on the front pastedown and a small stamp on the title page; a label has been removed at the spine and some ghosting or darkening remains in its place. 4to. 10.5 x 8 inches (262 x 187mm). [lviii], 996, . In text illustrations throughout. Bound in green cloth with minor scuffing at the edges; gilt-lettered at the spine. Tightly and very solidly bound. Bright and clean throughout.