The First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb 1939-49
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Spanning ten historic years, from the discovery of nuclear fission in 1939 to ‘Joe-1’, the first Soviet atomic bomb test in August 1949, Atomic is the first fully realised popular account of the race between Nazi Germany, Britain, America and the Soviet Union to build atomic weapons.
Rich in personality, action, confrontation and deception, Jim Baggott’s book tells an epic story of science and technology at the very limits of human understanding.
Jim Baggott is an award-winning science writer. A former academic chemist,he runs an independent management consultancy practice but maintains a broad interest in science, philosophy and history and continues to write on these subjects in his spare time, for, amongother publications, New Scientist magazine. His previous bookshave been widely acclaimed and include A Beginner’s Guide to Reality (Penguin, 2005) and Beyond Measure: Modern Physics,Philosophy and the Meaning of Quantum Theory (OUP, 2004).
‘I [have] read everything on the subject that I could lay my hands on, but I never read such a good, comprehensive account as Jim Baggott’s… Highly recommended.’
‘High drama… fascinating reading.’
‘Grimly compelling. Thorough and accessible.’
‘The best popular science book of the year to date by far.’
‘Baggott’s investigation is an accessible account of the race to build the world’s first atomic weapons. Compelling.’
‘Atomic is the tale of the creation of the Atomic bomb during wartime, and the political fallout from the realization of these powerful weapons… Most importantly Atomic is about the people and personalities behind the bomb… It’s a disturbing book – simply because it’s a very disturbing story.’
‘Comprehensive and clear-flowing book by Jim Baggott… the real nub of this thriller of a book: the human brain is the thing that fills you wit fearful awe.’
‘This is an excellent example of popular science, explaining a series of difficult concepts clearly and coherently, but without sacrificing accuracy. When combined with the personal stories of the scientists the result is an excellent study of the development of the first atomic bomb.’
‘Jim Baggott’s clear, elegant prose never falters, whether unveiling the scientists and spies who raced to unlock the secrets of the atom bomb, or describing the sub-atomic particle which drove the physicists on to what J Robert Oppenheimer later called ‘sin’.’
‘An excellent introduction to a vast and complicated topic.’
‘Atomic provides a popular but informed and compelling account of the international competition to produce atomic weapons.’
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