AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXXIX , No. 1, Spring 2007


Recent Publications in the History of Physics
Compiled by Babak Ashrafi

This is our usual compilation of some (by no means all) recently published articles on the history of modern physics, astronomy, geophysics and allied fields. Note that these lists have been posted on our Website since 1994, and you can search the full text of all of them (along with our annual book bibliography as well as other parts of our Website) by using our Search page at Enter your search term(s) in the box, then scroll down in the results page to "Source: Bibliographies;" you may need to click on "More Results."
For a complete list of our bibliographies of published books and journal articles on the history of physics and allied fields, visit

Kevin L. Cook writes about sending a balloon into the stratosphere in “Space Shot: 1935” in the Fall 2006 issue of American Heritage of Invention and Technology, Vol. 22,  No. 2, 2006.

The American Journal of Physics has “Einstein and the existence of atoms” by Jeremy Bernstein in the October 2006 Vol. 74, No. 10 issue; “Revisiting the 1888 hertz experiment” by Daniele Faccio, Matteo Clerici and Davide Tambuchi as well as “The story of c” by Kenneth S. Mendelson in Vol. 74, No. 11.

Volume 63, No. 4, 2006 of Annals of Science has several
interesting articles including “British Acoustics and its Transformation from the 1860s to the 1910s” by Ja Hyon Ku; “Edward Milne’s influence on modern cosmology” by Thomas Lepeltier; and “Thermodynamic deduction versus quantum revolution: the failure of Richardson’s theory of the photoelectric effect” by Shaul Katzir.

Elizabeth Neswald writes about “Science, sociability and the improvement of Ireland: the galway mechanics’ institute, 1826-51,” and Nestor Nerran writes about “Spreading nucleonics: the isotope school at the atomic energy
research establishment, 1951-67” in The British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 39, 2006.  In Volume 40, Suman Seth challenges conventional views with “Crisis and the construction of modern theoretical physics,” while Matthew Stanley offers “So simple a thing as a star: the eddington-jeans debate over astrophysical phenomenology”

Nobel laureate Chen Ning Yang talked to The CERN Courier about some of his early work, his impressions of the Large Hadron Collider and his thoughts about the future of physics in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue.

“Majorana: from atomic and molecular, to nuclear physics” by R. Pucci1 and G. G. N. Angilella appears in Foundations of Physics, Vol. 36, No. 10, 2006.

Historia Scientiarum, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2006, is a special issue on “Science and Technology during the Second World War and the Cold War: A Perspective for a Cooperative Study” and includes “A perspective on the historical study of science and technology  during the second world war and the cold war in japan” by Hiroshi Ichikawa; “The Kaiser Wilhelm society during the second world war” by Helmut Maier; “Science sobilization in the Soviet Union” by Eduard I. Kolchinsky;  and “American scientists and cold war politics:  current and future research directions” by Jessica Wang.

Jaume Navarro examines “Imperial incursions in late-victorian cambridge: J. J. Thomson and the domains of the physical sciences” in History of Science, Vol. 44, part 4, No. 146, 2006.

“The invisible businessman: nuclear physics, patenting practices, and trading activities in the 1930s” by Simone Turchetti, in
Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences, Vol. 37, No. 1, 2007, is about Fermi and his group in Fascist Italy.

Volume 97 of Isis, 2006 contains Thomas L. Hankins, “A ‘large and graceful sinuosity’: John Herschel’s graphical method” as well as W. Patrick McCray’s “Amateur scientists, the international geophysical year, and the ambitions of Fred Whipple” and Mary Terrall’s “Mathematics in narratives of geodetic expeditions.”

Nicholas Kollerstrom writes about “John Herschel and the discovery of neptune,” Kevin Johnson offers “A glimpse at the astronomy heritage of the science museum , London,”  Suzanne Débarbat and Françoise Launay examine “The 1874 transit of venus observed in Japan by the french, and associated relics,” and David W. Hughes describes “The introduction of absolute magnitude (1902-1922).” These appear in Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2006.

“William Herschel and the prehistory of stellar spectroscopy” by Michael Hoskin and David W. Dewhirst is in Vol. 37, part 4,
No. 129, 2007, of the Journal of the History of Astronomy. “Frank Ross, his ross lens design, and the lick observatory 20-inch astrograph” by Donald E. Osterbrock appears in Vol. 38, No. 130.

H. William Koch offers “Recollections on sixty years of NBS ionizing radiation programs for energetic x rays and electrons” in Vol. 111, No. 6, 2006, of Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Ted Doiron offers “20ºC: a short history of the standard reference temperature for industrial dimensional measurements” in Vol. 112, No. 1, 2007.

Minerva has “Maintaining discipline in the Kaiser Wilhelm society during the national socialist regime” by Richard H. Beyler in Vol. 44, No. 3, 2006, and “Science frustrated: the ‘Einstein institute’ in Madrid” by Thomas F. Glick and José M. Sanchez Ron in No. 4.

“Rethinking the history of solar wind studies: Eddington’s analysis of comet morehouse” by Ian T. Durham appears in Vol. 60, No. 3, 2006,  of Notes and Records of the Royal Society.  “Cromwell varley FRS, electrical discharge and victorian spiritualism” by Richard Noakes appears in Vol. 61, No. 1, 2007.

Osiris Vol. 21, 2006 is about “Global power knowledge: science and technology in international affairs” and includes “Introduction: science, technology, and international affairs” by John Krige and Kai-Henrik Barth; “Negotiating global nuclearities: apartheid, decolonization, and the cold war in the making of the IAEA” by Gabrielle Hecht; “The ambivalence of nuclear histories” by Itty Abraham; “Prometheus unleashed: science as a diplomatic weapon in the Lyndon B. Johnson administration” by Ronald E. Doel and Kristine C. Harper; “The politics of noncooperation: the boycott of the international centre for theoretical physics” by Alexis De Greiff; “Exporting MIT: science, technology, and nation-building in India and Iran” by Stuart W. Leslie and Robert Kargon;” ‘An effective instrument of peace’: scientific cooperation as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy, 1938-1950” by Clark A. Miller; “Atoms for peace, scientific internationalism, and scientific intelligence” by John Krige; “Catalysts of change: scientists as transnational arms control advocates in the 1980s” by Kai-Henrik Barth; “Hallowed lords of the sea: scientific authority and radioactive waste in the United States, Britain, and France” by Jacob Darwin Hamblin; and “Meteorology as infrastructural globalism” by Paul N. Edwards.

Physics in Perspective has “Enrico Fermi’s discovery of neutron-induced artificial radioactivity: neutrons and neutron sources” by Francesco Guerra, Matteo Leone and Nadia Robotti, as well as “Physics in Madrid: where science competed with art” by José M. Sanchez-Ron in Vol. 8 No. 3, 2006.
Number 4 of that volume contains “Paul A.M. Dirac’s ‘the principles of quantum mechanics’ ” by Laurie M. Brown as well as “Physics in Glasgow: a heritage tour” by Sean F. Johnston.  Vol. 9, No. 1, 2007,  includes “Guido Beck, Alexandre Proca, and the oporto theoretical physics seminar” by Augusto José dos Santos Fitas and António Augusto Passos Videira, and “Philipp Frank, Richard von Mises, and the frank-mises” by Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze. Finally, Kimball A. Milton offers “In appreciation Julian Schwinger: from nuclear physics and quantum electrodynamics to source theory and beyond.”

Kameshwar Wali describes “The man behind bose statistics” in the October 2006 issue of Physics Today. The January 2007
issue includes a celebration of “The Bethe Ansatz after 75 years” by Murray T. Batchelor and a history of “The early says of precision laser spectroscopy” by Richard G. Brewer, Aram Mooradian, Boris P. Stoicheff.  The February 2007 issue has Theodore A. Welton’s “Memories of Feynman” and Steve K. Lamoreaux’s “Casimir forces: still surprising after 60 years.”

Carlo Cercignani examines “Ludwig Boltzmann: atomic genius” in the September 2006 issue of Physics World.  In the December 2006 issue, Francis Everitt examines “James Clerk Maxwell: a force for physics.”

“Einstein and Oppenheimer: interactions and intersections” in the context of Oppenheimer’s and Einstein’s relation to their Jewish roots, their stance regarding nationalism, and their philosophical commitments is Silvan S. Schweber’s contribution in Science in Context, Vol. 19.

“The ‘house that Dick built’: Constructing the Team that Built the Bomb” by Denise N. Rall in Social Studies of Science, Vol. 36, No. 6, 2006, is based on Richard Feynman’s eyewitness account of computing at Los Alamos.

Studies In History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Vol. 37, No. 4, 2006, includes “Philosophy enters the optics laboratory: Bell’s theorem and its first experimental tests (1965-1982)” by Olival Freire, Jr.; “Symmetry and asymmetry in electrodynamics from Rowland to Einstein” by Giora Hona and Bernard R. Goldstein ; and “Cosmologies with varying speed of light: a historical perspective” by Helge S. Kragh.


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