Book Reviews

The Oxford Handbook of the History of Physics

Jed Z. Buchwald and Robert Fox

Oxford University Press, 2014; $175.95 (hardcover).

This volume covers the history of physics from the 17th century to the present day. It is suitable for specialists and the general public. Readers will benefit from the numerous historical examples of the connections between physics and technology, for example, Einstein’s work in the Patent Office on synchronizing clocks and his theory of special relativity, Hertz’s experiments on electromagnetic waves and the telecommunications industry, and Bell Labs’ research on semiconductors and the invention of transistors and the laser. This excellent book points out connections between instruments, observations, theories and discoveries, as well as communication among physicists. There are a number of things omitted, including chapters on nuclear physics, particle physics and quantum optics. Marie Curie is mentioned, but not Maria Gӧppert-Mayer or Lise Meitner. The book is replete with key references, clear figures and name and subject indexes.

Review by Barry R. Masters, Fellow of AAAS, OSA and SPIE.

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.


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