The Fly in the Cathedral

The Fly in the Cathedral Cathcart Tells This Exhilarating Story With Both Verve And Precision The Sunday Telegraph Re Creating The Frustrations, Excitements, And Obsessions Of 1932, The Miracle Year Of British Physics, Brian Cathcart Reveals In Rich Detail The Astonishing Story Behind The Splitting Of The Atom The Most Celebrated Scientific Experiment Of Its Time, It Would Lead To One Of Mankind S Most Devastating Inventions The Atomic Bomb All Matter Is Made Mostly Of Empty Space Each Of The Billions Of Atoms That Comprise It Is Hollow, Its True Mass Concentrated In A Tiny Nucleus That, If The Atom Were A Cathedral, Would Be No Bigger Than A Fly Discovering Its Existence Three Quarters Of A Century Ago Was Lord Rutherford S Greatest Scientific Achievement, But Even He Caught Only A Glimpse Almost At The Point Of Despair, John Cockcroft And Ernest Walton, Two Young Researchers In A Grubby Basement Room At The Famous Cavendish Laboratory In Cambridge, Grappled With The Challenge Racing Against Their American And German Counterparts A Colorful Cast Of Nobel Prize Winners They Would Change Everything With Paper And Pencil Calculations, A Handmade Apparatus, The Odd Lump Of Plasticine, And Some Revolutionary Physics, Cockroft And Walton Raised The Curtain On The Atomic Age The Fly In The Cathedral Is A Riveting And Erudite Narrative Inspired By The Dreams That Lead The Last True Gentlemen Scientists To The Very Essence Of The Universe The Heart Of Matter. Got this book at a bargain price at a book fair and took me long enough to actually read it It was hard to get past some of the scientific details especially the description of the apparatus and machines and sometimes my thoughts wandered off to another universe The first half took all the willpower I had to plod on, which is a testimony
This book is a perfect example of why I love nonfiction Cathcart found an exciting and concise thread to follow to tell the story of the Cambridge scientists who helped open the door to nuclear physics, in particualr the two men who first split an atomic nucleus in a measurable way This was an achievement that can be said to have changed the world.The author does a brilliant job of describing the circumstances, the lu
Cathcart, Brian THE FLY IN THE CATHEDRAL How a Group of Cambridge Scientists Won the International Race to Split the Atom 2004 1 2 Here again we have the story of the scientists, under Ernest Rutherford, who worked at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University The thrust of this tale, once the author gets to it, is the ultimate discovery serendipitously of the fission of the atom, specifically, the fission of Lithium into two Heliums when bombarded with
John Banville, writing in the Guardian, described Cathcart s book as unemphatic and, while perhaps it s not as phlegmatic as that might suggest, The Fly in the Cathedral or the gnat in Albert Hall, as Rutherford put it is a good solid account of the 1932 splitting of the atom.The aspect of the book I found most interesting were the descriptions of working life at Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, headed up Ernest Rutherford Rutherford comes across as results focused, theory impatient, h John Banville, writing in the Guardian, described Cathcart s book as unemphatic and, while perhaps it s not as phlegmatic as that might suggest, The Fly in the Cathedral or the gnat in Albert Hall
A well researched, well told story of the Cavendish lab and the work that culminated in the discovery of the neutron and the splitting of the atom in the early 1930s Experimentation gets short shrift in histories of science as compared to theory, but Ernest Rutherford is as interesting as just about any theorist and using a simple apparatus to essentially visualize the atom itself as Rutherford did in his scattering experiment is about as impressive as any theoretical feat This book takes thos A well researched, well told story of the Cavendish lab and the work that culminated in the discovery of the neutron and the splitting of the atom in the early 1930s Experimentation gets short shrift in histories of science as compared to theory, but Ernest Rutherford is as interesting as just about any theorist and using a simple apparatus to essentially visualize the atom itself as Rutherford did in his scattering experiment is about as impressive as any theoretical feat This book takes those as its prelude and focuses on Walton, Cockcroft and to a lesser degree Chadwick and Rutherford s ongoing role.In the process, the book tells the interesting story of the inception of larger scale experimentation that moved beyond tabletop experiments by gentleman scientists to large machinery using large amounts of energy and teams of researchers.The book isthoroughly researched journalistic history that
The title refers to the nucleus of an atom, which is so small in comparison with the atom, that it is like a fly in a cathedral.The book is an enjoyable history of the early days of nuclear physics roughly 1900 to 1932, told from the perspective of the Cavendish laboratory at Cambridge University The high point of the story is the experiment in 1932 which for the first time split an atomic nucleus and released the energy predicted by Albert Einstein.The book describes the experiments and the The title refers to the nucleus of an atom, which is so small in comparison with the atom, that it is like a fly in a cathedral.The book is an enjoyable history of the early days of nuclear physics roughly 1900 to 1932, told from the perspective of the Cavendish laboratory at Cambridge University The high point of the story is the experiment in 1932 which for the first time split an atomic nucleus and
I found the beginning and the end of this book to be absolutely fascinating The middle 60% of the book was important, to have a full understanding of the story, but slightly boring I also respect the authors caution in describing the temperament of these scientist Some of
An extremely readable account of how the atom was split Cathcart s biggest strength in this book, I think, is the balance between the science and the history characters of the scientists involved The science itself is clearly explained it probably helps that the author isn t a scientist himself and so caneasily resist the urge to fall back into jargon and digressions I find a lot of pop sci books struggle with this balance either they
This book was a fun read The first ten pages were quite bland and I was afraid I didn t really want to continue it, but I like to get past the first chapter before I judge a book After those first few pages, the book picked up and clearly illustrated the invent
A well written, highly readable history of the race to split the atom We meet all the important characters and get to know them well as they carry out their almost unbelievable experiments using Heath Robinson type machines conglomerations how the hell do you go abo

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  • Paperback
  • 308 pages
  • The Fly in the Cathedral
  • Brian Cathcart
  • English
  • 07 December 2018
  • 0374530262