Thursday, May 04, 2006

Physics: Thinking Back and Forward

"Physicists Contemplate Their Impact over the Last 75 Years as Their Science Expands into Diverse Frontiers

May 3, 2006--As the American Institute of Physics (AIP) celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, physicists think about how much their science has evolved and how far it has expanded into new territory. Several busy physicists have taken the time to step back from their work to reflect upon events that have transpired since that occasion in 1931 when AIP first set up shop in New York City."

In the past 75 years, breakthroughs in physics have led to life-saving medical imaging, ubiquitous computers, inexpensive worldwide telecommunications, and an ever-deepening knowledge of matter, the Earth and the universe," says Marc H. Brodsky, AIP's Executive Director and CEO.

What have been the most important events in physics during this relatively short period of time? AIP senior historian and physicist Spencer Weart suggests two discoveries which took place in the early 20th century that have had tremendous influence on how we not only see and understand our world, but also how we live in it.Quantum mechanics and Einstein’s general theory of relativity, he says, have laid down the "new physics" of our age. "


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