- Tapa blanda: 218 páginas
- Editor: Cornell University Press (12 de abril de 2009)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0801475171
- ISBN-13: 978-0801475177
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
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- n.° 99 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros > Ciencias, tecnología y medicina > Química > Química inorgánica
- n.° 432 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros > Ciencias, tecnología y medicina > Física > Física atómica, molecular y nuclear
- n.° 9684 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros > Ciencias, tecnología y medicina > Tecnología e ingeniería
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Plutonium (Inglés) Tapa blanda – 12 abr 2009
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Descripción del producto
"None of Jeremy Bernstein's devoted New Yorker readers were surprised that he brought J. Robert Oppenheimer to life in his compelling biography, Oppenheimer: Portrait of an Enigma. But bringing plutonium to life-making the 94th element as interesting as 'the father of the atomic bomb'-is science writing that borders on literary magic."-Martin J. Sherwin, coauthor of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Biography "Running through a spectrum of Nobel Prize winners, Bernstein grippingly portrays the race to develop the first nuclear weapon during World War II as well as the interplay among the global personalities involved. Readers learn that this hazardous element, good for nothing but nuclear weapon production, continues to hold us hostage with the threat of nuclear terrorism."-Library Journal "Irony and drama shape Bernstein's accounts of amazing feats of scientific deduction and world-endangering secrets, which give way to a sobering overview of the environmental damage caused by plutonium-producing reactors and the enormous threats embodied in today's global plutonium inventory."-Booklist "Bernstein's book should play a useful role by helping demystify plutonium and by encouraging interested members of the public and Congress to start constructing a more rational policy to deal with the dangers posed by this man-made element."-American Scientist "Bernstein spins an accessible, insightful description of how the great scientists Curie, Bohr, Rutherford, and Fermi, among others, deconstructed the atom through a combination of individual brilliance, a spirit of collaboration, and serendipity."-Publishers Weekly "Plutonium is a strong candidate for the weirdest, most fascinating, and most frightening element in the periodic table. For it to be the subject of a book by the acclaimed physicist turned science writer Jeremy Bernstein promises a great deal. Plutonium does not disappoint, even for those who think they are already familiar with the evolution of nuclear science during the twentieth century."-Physics World "In Plutonium, Jeremy Bernstein acknowledges that everything connected with the element is complicated, and that includes plutonium itself and its history. Its discovery in 1941 by Glenn Seaborg and Arthur Wahl is part of a much bigger story in which each part becomes a story in itself."-Nature
Reseña del editor
When plutonium was first manufactured at Berkeley in the spring of 1941, there was so little of it that it was not visible to the naked eye. It took a year to accumulate enough so that one could actually see it. Now so much has been produced that we don't know what to do to get rid of it. We have created a monster. The history of plutonium is as strange as the element itself. When scientists began looking for it, they did so simply in the spirit of inquiry, not certain whether there were still spots to fill on the periodic table. But the discovery of fission made it clear that this still-hypothetical element would be more than just a scientific curiosity-it could be the main ingredient of a powerful nuclear weapon. As it turned out, it is good for almost nothing else. Plutonium's nuclear potential put it at the heart of the World War II arms race-the Russians found out about it through espionage, the Germans through independent research, and everybody wanted some. Now it is warehoused around the world-the United States alone possesses about forty-seven metric tons-but it has almost no practical use outside its role in nuclear weaponry. How did the product of scientific curiosity become such a dangerous burden? In his history of this complex and dangerous element, noted physicist Jeremy Bernstein describes the steps that were taken to transform plutonium from a laboratory novelty into the nuclear weapon that destroyed Nagasaki. This is the first book to weave together the many strands of plutonium's story, explaining not only the science but also the people involved.
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This title on the other hand is different, it gives you a history of the science and some reasonably high level explanations. It doesn't go into great depth of the math, though there are some formulas and they are not well addressed. Similarly there are notations occasionally introduced that then are not used again for a third of the book or so. And really the worst part was that the figures are often ten pages or so from where they are (first) referenced in the text. That's why I dropped a star.
However, make not mistake, this is a thin book that is packed with details. It reads like a novel and you breeze through most of it. Towards the end there is a section which is rather technical, and Bernstein does preface it indicating 1) it's complex, 2) he's not the best person to explain it; and he is right on both counts, but because of that preface you are forewarned and he is too modest.
This isn't a textbook on the chemistry of plutonium or the physics of atomic bombs, it feels as though there is more to this element that was missed, but the book never feels that it missed opportunities, rather it feels like it aimed for a scope and nailed it perfectly. The author is very honest about what his aims are and what the individual chapters should achieve and despite this, which sounds like it would distract, the text draws you in, the language makes you feel entertained, and aside from one slip up that grated because he refers to the USA as "we", the book just never lets up.
That this reference to us Americans is so grating should be taken as a positive. For the most part you don't notice the language or tone, but this one instance stands out against the entire book, which should be a testament to the "smoothness". You are reading a history book, but it feels like a documentary made for TV.
The text is a basic introduction to plutonium with a strong focus on the scientific progress of nuclear physics (predominantly) with some focus on chemistry and quantum mechanics, but the later is only called upon when necessary. All concepts are reasonably well explained, though there is more to this but that's well beyond the scope of the book. Even if you have a background in chemistry (or physics) odds are if you don't know much about the discovery of elements, research into radioactivity and uranium and beyond, this will be a good primer. There is much more that could be written on this subject, but again, within the scope that is set to be covered, one can not really complain. Keep in mind this is about 170 pages of text with further readings and so forth taking you up to the total the product description lists.
The book is very accessible and readable for anyone from high school age to anything beyond that.
He focuses just on plutonium as an element not on the various actual weapons that can be made with it.
My favorite subject is MAD, mutual assured destruction, that prevented the cold war from becoming hot. This is still in effect but existence of 'tactical nuclear weapons' that have much lower yield that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs may upset the balance.
The book was written before Putin became a very bad guy talking opening about using nuclear weapons. That has, of course, nothing to do with plutonium as a man-made element per se.
Highly recommended book, four stars.