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Big Science

Nonfiction: History, Science
Unabridged   14.75 hour(s)
Publication date: 07/07/2015

Big Science

Ernest Lawrence and the Invention that Launched the Military-Industrial Complex

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781622318872


From a Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist and Los Angeles Times contributor, the untold story of how science went big, built the bombs that helped win World War II, and became dependent on government and industryand the forgotten genius who started it all, Ernest Lawrence.

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Product Description

Since the 1930s, the scale of scientific endeavors has grown exponentially. Machines have become larger, ambitions bolder. The first particle accelerator cost less than one hundred dollars and could be held in its creators palm, while its descendant, the Large Hadron Collider, cost ten billion dollars and is seventeen miles in circumference. Scientists have invented nuclear weapons, put a man on the moon, and examined nature at the subatomic scaleall through Big Science, the industrial-scale research paid for by governments and corporations that have driven the great scientific projects of our time.

The birth of Big Science can be traced to Berkeley, California, nearly nine decades ago, when a resourceful young scientist with a talent for physics and an even greater talent for promotion pondered his new invention and declared, Im going to be famous! Ernest Orlando Lawrences cyclotron would revolutionize nuclear physics, but that was only the beginning of its impact. It would change our understanding of the basic building blocks of nature. It would help win World War II. Its influence would be felt in academia and international politics. It was the beginning of Big Science.

This is the incredible story of how one invention changed the world and of the man principally responsible for it all. Michael Hiltzik tells the riveting full story here for the first time.


“Souer has a deep, pleasant voice and reads the occasionally complex but surprisingly accessible text clearly and thoughtfully.”
      —Booklist [November 1, 2015]

Michael Hiltzik tells an epic story, one with arenas of tragedy as well as triumph, and he tells it well. Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Einstein famously formulated new theories of the universe while sitting alone in the patent office in Bern. Today, many endeavors in fundamental research require large budgets, elaborate facilities, and huge staffs. How did science become Big Science? In this fascinating book, Michael Hiltzik gives us the inside story of this remarkable metamorphosis. This is a gripping biography of Big Science and of the people who originated it. Mario Livio, Astrophysicist, and author of Brilliant Blunders 20th-century science delivered a series of revolutions, none more instantaneous than the microseconds it took to explode the first atomic bomb. By framing this storyand the development of the cyclotron that made it possiblefrom the Lawrence/Livermore perspective rather than the Oppenheimer/Los Alamos perspective that has dominated most accounts, Michael Hiltzik sheds fresh light on the transition from small science to big science that we take for granted today. Especially timely is a fascinating account of Lawrences attempt to return to small science: how do you encourage a small group of scientists to produce big results, rather than the other way around? George Dyson, author of Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe

Author Bio

Michael Hiltzik is a Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist and author who has covered business, technology, and public policy for the Los Angeles Times for three decades. He currently serves as the Timess business columnist and hosts its business blog, The Economy Hub. His books include The New Deal, Colossus, Dealers of Lightning, and The Plot Against Social Security. Mr. Hiltzik received the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for articles exposing corruption in the entertainment industry. He lives in Southern California with his wife and two children. - See more at: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Michael-Hiltzik/39608033#sthash.hCJ6obmD.dpuf