Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Physicists--recorded moments

It is a pity that audio and visual recordings weren't possible throughout man's history. But here are four items...

Ernest Rutherford

"The bother is that a nucleus, as you know, is a very small thing, and we know very little about it. Now, I had the opinion for a long time, that's a personal conviction, that if we knew more about the nucleus, we'd find it was a much simpler thing than we suppose, that these fundamental things I think have got to be fairly simple. But it's the non-fundamental things that are very complex usually. I am always a believer in simplicity being a simple person myself."

Ernest Rutherford

J. J. Thompson

"Could anything at first sight seem more impractical than a body which is so small that its mass is an insignificant fraction of the mass of an atom of hydrogen, which itself is so small that a crowd of these atoms equal in number to the population of the whole world would be too small to have been detected by any means then known to science."

Niels Bohr

"If, twenty-five years ago, I had the good fortune to give a modest contribution to this development, it was, above all, thanks to the hospitality I then, as a young man, enjoyed in the famous laboratories of England. In particular, I think with grateful emotion of the unique friendliness and straightforwardness with which Rutherford, in the midst of his unceasing creative activity, was always prepared to listen to any student behind whose youthful inexperience he perceived a serious interest."

Solvay Conference

Physicists gather to engage in "quantum" chat at the Solvay Conference in Brussels, October 1927. Here is some film footage of the event.

"The following is a "home movie" shot by Irving Langmuir, (the 1932 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry). It captures 2 minutes of an intermission in the proceedings. Twenty-one of the 29 attendees are on the film. The film opens with quick shots of Erwin Schrödinger and Niels Bohr. Auguste Piccard of the University of Brussels follows and then the camera re-focuses on Schrödinger and Bohr."

Solvay Conference

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