Recent Advances in Science: Physics and Applied Mathematics

Recent Advances in Science: Physics and Applied Mathematics

Recent Advances in Science: Physics and Applied Mathematics

Recent Advances in Science: Physics and Applied Mathematics

Excerpt

Scientific historians of the future may attach special significance to the fact that the first half of the twentieth century saw the establishment of a number of highly technical industries. Many of the basic discoveries of the first few decades have already been put to commercial practice, and the fundamental ideas now being developed will form the nuclei for new industries of the future. The very rapid growth of the physical sciences quite naturally has led to specialization, with the result that practicing scientists and engineers too often are but dimly aware of the latest developments outside their immediate fields.

This book is a product of the First Symposium on Recent Advances in Science, held at New York University during the spring of 1954. The purpose of the Symposium, which was confined to physics and applied mathematics, was to convey the basic ideas in some of the newest and most active fields of study. The level of presentation is probably best described as intermediate, inasmuch as the lectures presupposed some scientific training, although not necessarily in the particular subject areas. Nevertheless, it was apparent that much benefit was derived from the lectures even by those actively engaged in these fields.

Prominent among the topics will be found several phases of atomic and nuclear physics. This is probably to be expected in view of the enormous advances in these fields and the impact they have made upon modern engineering. The rapid rise of interest during the recent years in the physical properties of solids is reflected in those chapters that treat some of the aspects of solid state physics. Similarly, the techniques of operations research, developed primarily for military application, have only recently been turned to industrial problems, for which they appear to offer great promise. The opening chapter deals with what is probably the most important tool of the engineer . . .

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