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1 Burnside History of Science- General

This title in other editions

Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima

by

Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:


On December 26 (the day after Christmas in) 1898, Marie Curie announced the existence of a new element, naming it radium and also proclaiming that radioactivity seems to be an atomic property. Some 47 years later, her startling insight was on full and horrific display as Little Boy exploded over Hiroshima. Before the Fallout is the epic, riveting story the intervening half century, during which an exhilarating quest to unravel the secrets of the material world led to the knowledge of how to destroy it, and an open, international, scientific adventure was transformed almost overnight into a wartime sprint for the bomb. Weaving together history, science, and biography, Diana Preston chronicles a fascinating human chain reaction: the intertwined lives of the many scientists, leaders, and ordinary citizens whose discoveries and decisions forever changed our lives. Just 12 years before Hiroshima, the great physicist, Ernest Rutherford, dismissed the idea of harnessing energy from atoms as moonshine. He and others who are now legendary: Einstein, Chadwick, Fermi, Bohr, Heisenberg, Meitner, Lawrence, and many more, were collectively focused on discovery, not exploitation. What they found en route to splitting the atom; quantum theory, wave mechanics, the neutron, heavy water, uncertainty, was breathaking. Yet when the ultimate power of the atom was revealed and WWII loomed, alliances were broken, friendships sundered, and science co-opted by world events. Preston deftly counterpoints the changing daily lives of people in Hiroshima, and evolving attitudes about the conduct of warfare and the targeting of civilians, with the dramatic race to build the first atomic bomb. She offers intriguing new insight into the fateful meeting between Heisenberg and Bohr and, in a fascinating conclusion, examines what might have happened had any number of events occurred differently. As the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki approaches, and our world is again ever more dangerous, understanding what led to the (most fateful) moment of the 20th century is imperative. Before the Fallout is a tour de force of narrative history; deeply researched, beautifully written, it compels us to consider the threats and moral dilemmas we all face.

Review:

"Nuclear weapons have been an immutable aspect of the world for the past 60 years. The story of how they came to be, and the race between the Allied and Axis nations to be the first to harness the destructive power of the atom, is wonderfully told by British historian Preston (A First Rate Tragedy; Lusitania; etc.). She weaves together history, physics, politics and military strategies to convey both the monumental scientific achievement the bomb represented and, at the same time, the ethical and humanitarian implications of creating such a wild power. Preston is an impeccable researcher with a gift for choosing small details that illuminate and humanize the bomb's world-changing effects. She quotes a doctor in Hiroshima saying the mass of burned flesh around him smelled like 'dried squid when it is grilled — the squid we like so much to eat'; elsewhere, Preston relates that the potential explosive effect of a chain-reaction atomic bomb was first calculated on the back of a napkin. This is a story with a reservoir of events heroic and horrible and a fabulous cast of characters that includes scientists Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller and Hans Bethe, and world leaders Roosevelt, Churchill, Truman, Stalin, Emperor Hirohito and Hitler. Preston presents each with rare insight and expertise. But her rarer achievement is to capture not only the work of making the bomb with its myriad ramifications for humankind, but also the ineffably human qualities — curiosity, ambition, fear, patriotism — that animated the participants in the great drama. 50 b&w illus. Agent, Michael Carlisle." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

The Human Chain Reaction That Led To The Atom Bomb
 
On December 26, 1898, Marie Curie announced the discovery of radium and observed that "radioactivity seems to be an atomic property." A mere 47 years later, "Little Boy"exploded over Hiroshima. Before the Fallout is the epic story of the intervening half century, during which an exhilarating quest to unravel the secrets of the material world revealed how to destroy it, and an open, international, scientific adventure transmuted overnight into a wartime sprint for the bomb.

Weaving together history, science, and biography, Diana Preston chronicles a human chain reaction of scientists and leaders whose discoveries and decisions forever changed our lives. The early decades of the 20th century brought Einstein's relativity theory, Rutherford's discovery of the atomic nucleus, and Heisenberg's quantum mechanics, and scientists of many nations worked together to tease out the secrets of the atom. Only 12 years before Hiroshima, one leading physicist dismissed the idea of harnessing energy from atoms as "moonshine." Then, on the eve of World War II, the power of atomic fission was revealed, alliances were broken, friendships sundered, and science co-opted by world events.

Preston interviewed the surviving scientists, and she offers new insight into the fateful wartime meeting between Heisenberg and Bohr, along with a fascinating conclusion examining what might have happened had any number of events occurred differently. She also provides a rare portrait of Hiroshima before the blast.

As Hiroshima's 60th anniversary approaches, Before the Fallout compels us to consider the threats and moral dilemmas we face in our still dangerous world.

Diana Preston is an acclaimed historian and author of A First Tragedy, The Boxer Rebellion, Lusitania, and (with her husband, Michael) A Pirate of Exquisite Mind. She lives in London, England.
Winner of the Los AngelesTimes Book Prize for Science and Technology
 
On December 26, 1898, Marie Curie announced the discovery of radium and observed that "radioactivity seems to be an atomic property." Forty-seven years later, her startling insight was on full and horrific display as "Little Boy" exploded over Hiroshima. Before the Fallout is the epic story of the half century between these two world-changing events.
 
Weaving history, science, and biography, Diana Preston chronicles a fascinating human chain reaction of scientists, leaders, and ordinary citizens whose discoveries and decisions forever changed our lives. The early decades of the twentieth century brought breathtaking revelations—Einstein's relativity theory, Rutherford's discovery of the atomic nucleus, Heisenberg's quantum mechanics. Scientists of many nations worked together to tease out the secrets of the atom with little idea of where their findings would one day lead. Only twelve years before Hiroshima, the great Ernest Rutherford dismissed the idea of harnessing energy from atoms as "moonshine." Then, on the eve of World War II, the power of atomic fission was revealed, alliances were broken, friendships were sundered, and science was co-opted by world events.

Preston deftly counterpoints the changing daily lives of people in Hiroshima before the blast, and evolving attitudes about the conduct of warfare and the targeting of civilians, with the dramatic race to build the first atomic bomb. She interviewed the surviving scientists, including the last living person to have worked with Marie Curie, and offers intriguing new insights—based on recently available papers—into the fateful wartime meeting between Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr. Her fascinating conclusion examines what might have happened had any number of events occurred differently.

Before the Fallout is a tour de force of narrative history, deeply researched and beautifully written. As the sixtieth anniversary of Hiroshima approaches, it compels us to consider the threats and moral dilemmas we all face in our ever-dangerous world.

"The great, enthralling story of the race to build the bomb is often as complicated and full of twists as nuclear physics itself, but Diana Preston has told it clearly and vividly."—Joseph Kanon, author of Los Alamos

"Preston artfully distills the key moments of the pre-atomic-bomb era, both scientific and biographic, and weaves them into an absorbing narrative. The result is a concise and very readable overview of the human chain reaction that began in 1896 with the innocent observation that uranium salts could fog a photographic plate and culminated half a century later in the most potent weapon the world had ever seen."—The Washington Post Book World

"Nuclear weapons have been an immutable aspect of the world for the past 60 years. The story of how they came to be, and the race between the Allied and Axis nations to be the first to harness the destructive power of the atom, is wonderfully told by British historian Preston. She weaves together history, physics, politics and military strategies to convey both the monumental scientific achievement the bomb represented and, at the same time, the ethical and humanitarian implications of creating such a wild power. Preston is an impeccable researcher with a gift for choosing small details that illuminate and humanize the bomb's world-changing effects . . . This is a story with a reservoir of events heroic and horrible and a fabulous cast of characters that includes scientists Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller and Hans Bethe, and world leaders Roosevelt, Churchill, Truman, Stalin, Emperor Hirohito and Hitler. Preston presents each with rare insight and expertise. But her rarer achievement is to capture not only the work of making the bomb with its myriad ramifications for humankind, but also the ineffably human qualities—curiosity, ambition, fear, patriotism—that animated the participants in the great drama."—Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

The Human Chain Reaction That Led To The Atom Bomb
On December 26, 1898, Marie Curie announced the discovery of radium and observed that "radioactivity seems to be an atomic property." A mere 47 years later, "Little Boy"exploded over Hiroshima. Before the Fallout is the epic story of the intervening half century, during which an exhilarating quest to unravel the secrets of the material world revealed how to destroy it, and an open, international, scientific adventure transmuted overnight into a wartime sprint for the bomb.

Weaving together history, science, and biography, Diana Preston chronicles a human chain reaction of scientists and leaders whose discoveries and decisions forever changed our lives. The early decades of the 20th century brought Einstein's relativity theory, Rutherford's discovery of the atomic nucleus, and Heisenberg's quantum mechanics, and scientists of many nations worked together to tease out the secrets of the atom. Only 12 years before Hiroshima, one leading physicist dismissed the idea of harnessing energy from atoms as "moonshine." Then, on the eve of World War II, the power of atomic fission was revealed, alliances were broken, friendships sundered, and science co-opted by world events.

Preston interviewed the surviving scientists, and she offers new insight into the fateful wartime meeting between Heisenberg and Bohr, along with a fascinating conclusion examining what might have happened had any number of events occurred differently. She also provides a rare portrait of Hiroshima before the blast.

As Hiroshima's 60th anniversary approaches, Before the Fallout compels us to consider the threats and moral dilemmas we face in our still dangerous world.

About the Author

Diana Preston is an acclaimed historian and author of A First Rate Tragedy, The Boxer Rebellion, and A Pirate of Exquisite Mind. She lives in London

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802714459
Manufactured:
Walker & Company
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Author:
Preston, Diana
Subject:
Science
Subject:
History
Subject:
Military - Nuclear Warfare
Subject:
Nuclear Physics
Subject:
Philosophy & Aspects
Subject:
Hiroshima-shi (Japan) History.
Subject:
Science -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Social aspects
Subject:
History of Science-General
Subject:
Philosophy & Social Aspects
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20050531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
50 Black and White Illustrations
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » Weapons » General
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General History and Philosophy
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Nuclear

Before the Fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima Used Hardcover
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$7.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Walker & Company - English 9780802714459 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Nuclear weapons have been an immutable aspect of the world for the past 60 years. The story of how they came to be, and the race between the Allied and Axis nations to be the first to harness the destructive power of the atom, is wonderfully told by British historian Preston (A First Rate Tragedy; Lusitania; etc.). She weaves together history, physics, politics and military strategies to convey both the monumental scientific achievement the bomb represented and, at the same time, the ethical and humanitarian implications of creating such a wild power. Preston is an impeccable researcher with a gift for choosing small details that illuminate and humanize the bomb's world-changing effects. She quotes a doctor in Hiroshima saying the mass of burned flesh around him smelled like 'dried squid when it is grilled — the squid we like so much to eat'; elsewhere, Preston relates that the potential explosive effect of a chain-reaction atomic bomb was first calculated on the back of a napkin. This is a story with a reservoir of events heroic and horrible and a fabulous cast of characters that includes scientists Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller and Hans Bethe, and world leaders Roosevelt, Churchill, Truman, Stalin, Emperor Hirohito and Hitler. Preston presents each with rare insight and expertise. But her rarer achievement is to capture not only the work of making the bomb with its myriad ramifications for humankind, but also the ineffably human qualities — curiosity, ambition, fear, patriotism — that animated the participants in the great drama. 50 b&w illus. Agent, Michael Carlisle." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
The Human Chain Reaction That Led To The Atom Bomb
 
On December 26, 1898, Marie Curie announced the discovery of radium and observed that "radioactivity seems to be an atomic property." A mere 47 years later, "Little Boy"exploded over Hiroshima. Before the Fallout is the epic story of the intervening half century, during which an exhilarating quest to unravel the secrets of the material world revealed how to destroy it, and an open, international, scientific adventure transmuted overnight into a wartime sprint for the bomb.

Weaving together history, science, and biography, Diana Preston chronicles a human chain reaction of scientists and leaders whose discoveries and decisions forever changed our lives. The early decades of the 20th century brought Einstein's relativity theory, Rutherford's discovery of the atomic nucleus, and Heisenberg's quantum mechanics, and scientists of many nations worked together to tease out the secrets of the atom. Only 12 years before Hiroshima, one leading physicist dismissed the idea of harnessing energy from atoms as "moonshine." Then, on the eve of World War II, the power of atomic fission was revealed, alliances were broken, friendships sundered, and science co-opted by world events.

Preston interviewed the surviving scientists, and she offers new insight into the fateful wartime meeting between Heisenberg and Bohr, along with a fascinating conclusion examining what might have happened had any number of events occurred differently. She also provides a rare portrait of Hiroshima before the blast.

As Hiroshima's 60th anniversary approaches, Before the Fallout compels us to consider the threats and moral dilemmas we face in our still dangerous world.

Diana Preston is an acclaimed historian and author of A First Tragedy, The Boxer Rebellion, Lusitania, and (with her husband, Michael) A Pirate of Exquisite Mind. She lives in London, England.
Winner of the Los AngelesTimes Book Prize for Science and Technology
 
On December 26, 1898, Marie Curie announced the discovery of radium and observed that "radioactivity seems to be an atomic property." Forty-seven years later, her startling insight was on full and horrific display as "Little Boy" exploded over Hiroshima. Before the Fallout is the epic story of the half century between these two world-changing events.
 
Weaving history, science, and biography, Diana Preston chronicles a fascinating human chain reaction of scientists, leaders, and ordinary citizens whose discoveries and decisions forever changed our lives. The early decades of the twentieth century brought breathtaking revelations—Einstein's relativity theory, Rutherford's discovery of the atomic nucleus, Heisenberg's quantum mechanics. Scientists of many nations worked together to tease out the secrets of the atom with little idea of where their findings would one day lead. Only twelve years before Hiroshima, the great Ernest Rutherford dismissed the idea of harnessing energy from atoms as "moonshine." Then, on the eve of World War II, the power of atomic fission was revealed, alliances were broken, friendships were sundered, and science was co-opted by world events.

Preston deftly counterpoints the changing daily lives of people in Hiroshima before the blast, and evolving attitudes about the conduct of warfare and the targeting of civilians, with the dramatic race to build the first atomic bomb. She interviewed the surviving scientists, including the last living person to have worked with Marie Curie, and offers intriguing new insights—based on recently available papers—into the fateful wartime meeting between Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr. Her fascinating conclusion examines what might have happened had any number of events occurred differently.

Before the Fallout is a tour de force of narrative history, deeply researched and beautifully written. As the sixtieth anniversary of Hiroshima approaches, it compels us to consider the threats and moral dilemmas we all face in our ever-dangerous world.

"The great, enthralling story of the race to build the bomb is often as complicated and full of twists as nuclear physics itself, but Diana Preston has told it clearly and vividly."—Joseph Kanon, author of Los Alamos

"Preston artfully distills the key moments of the pre-atomic-bomb era, both scientific and biographic, and weaves them into an absorbing narrative. The result is a concise and very readable overview of the human chain reaction that began in 1896 with the innocent observation that uranium salts could fog a photographic plate and culminated half a century later in the most potent weapon the world had ever seen."—The Washington Post Book World

"Nuclear weapons have been an immutable aspect of the world for the past 60 years. The story of how they came to be, and the race between the Allied and Axis nations to be the first to harness the destructive power of the atom, is wonderfully told by British historian Preston. She weaves together history, physics, politics and military strategies to convey both the monumental scientific achievement the bomb represented and, at the same time, the ethical and humanitarian implications of creating such a wild power. Preston is an impeccable researcher with a gift for choosing small details that illuminate and humanize the bomb's world-changing effects . . . This is a story with a reservoir of events heroic and horrible and a fabulous cast of characters that includes scientists Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller and Hans Bethe, and world leaders Roosevelt, Churchill, Truman, Stalin, Emperor Hirohito and Hitler. Preston presents each with rare insight and expertise. But her rarer achievement is to capture not only the work of making the bomb with its myriad ramifications for humankind, but also the ineffably human qualities—curiosity, ambition, fear, patriotism—that animated the participants in the great drama."—Publishers Weekly

"Synopsis" by ,
The Human Chain Reaction That Led To The Atom Bomb
On December 26, 1898, Marie Curie announced the discovery of radium and observed that "radioactivity seems to be an atomic property." A mere 47 years later, "Little Boy"exploded over Hiroshima. Before the Fallout is the epic story of the intervening half century, during which an exhilarating quest to unravel the secrets of the material world revealed how to destroy it, and an open, international, scientific adventure transmuted overnight into a wartime sprint for the bomb.

Weaving together history, science, and biography, Diana Preston chronicles a human chain reaction of scientists and leaders whose discoveries and decisions forever changed our lives. The early decades of the 20th century brought Einstein's relativity theory, Rutherford's discovery of the atomic nucleus, and Heisenberg's quantum mechanics, and scientists of many nations worked together to tease out the secrets of the atom. Only 12 years before Hiroshima, one leading physicist dismissed the idea of harnessing energy from atoms as "moonshine." Then, on the eve of World War II, the power of atomic fission was revealed, alliances were broken, friendships sundered, and science co-opted by world events.

Preston interviewed the surviving scientists, and she offers new insight into the fateful wartime meeting between Heisenberg and Bohr, along with a fascinating conclusion examining what might have happened had any number of events occurred differently. She also provides a rare portrait of Hiroshima before the blast.

As Hiroshima's 60th anniversary approaches, Before the Fallout compels us to consider the threats and moral dilemmas we face in our still dangerous world.

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