Freezing Physics : Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and the Quest for Cold

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-07-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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In 1908, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (18531926) liquefied helium for the first time, briefly rendering his Dutch laboratory "the coldest place on earth."Freezing Physicsis the first book to tell the story of Leiden University's famed cryogenics laboratory and the man behind it, whose scientific accomplishments earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics. This fascinating portrayal of Kamerlingh Onnes traces his storied career from his first experiments with helium to his later work that opened up unexplored territories of extreme cold, magnetism, and thermodynamicsand cleared the path for the eventual discovery of superconductivity in 1911. Dirk van Delft here illuminates the scientific acuity, managerial talent, and visionary character that equipped Kamerlingh Onnes to almost single-handedly change the course of the history of physics.

Author Biography

Dirk van Delft is director of the Boerhaave Museum, the National Museum of the History of Science and Medicine, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Table of Contents

Between Schifpot en Noorderhaven
That wonderful HBS
No drinking binges
Restless atoms
'Maintain and refine'
Foucault's pendulum
Delft: corresponding states and other matters
To Leiden
New heights
'Door meten tot weten': knowledge through measurement
Monstrosity gets a face-lift
The fullness of wisdom
Cold war (i)
The Lorentz series
The Zeeman effect
A collection of explosive devices
Retrograde condensation
Into the breach for Van der Waals
The blue-collar boys
Stolen rooms and other personnel matters
Committee work: a necessary evil
Cold war (ii)
Old peat and neighbourhood squabbling
Die Zustandsgleichung
Huize ter Wetering
Monsieur Zéro Absolu
The quantum and zero-point energy
A chocolate from Stockholm
World War: turning-point
Declining years
Duty, joy and harmony
Epilogue: the Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory
Illustration sources
Sources and abbreviations/terms used in references to sources
Name index
Subject index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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