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Cohesion: A Scientific History of Intermolecular Forces Paperback – 30 Jun 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (30 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521673550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521673556
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 1.8 x 24.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,798,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'… an intricate and intriguing saga … The book admirably fulfills its stated aim of serving historians of science and also physicists or physical chemists curious about the roots of modern approaches to intermolecular forces.' Dudley Herschbach, Physics Today

'The book strikingly illustrates the crooked ways of progress in science … presents an exhaustive treatment of a ubiquitous natural phenomenon that stubbornly resisted fundamental understanding until well into the twentieth century.' Johanna Levelt Sengers, Isis

'Rowlinson's detailed and densely informative study is destined to be the history of cohesion for many years to come. … it will be of as much interest to historians of the physical sciences as to scientists with an inclination for the history of their field. … an excellently guided tour through the labyrinth of cohesion from Newton to quantum physics.' Ambix

'We rarely contemplate the forces holding everyday objects together. … However, J. S. Rowlinson's fascinating book reveals that the causes of cohesion have occupied many great scientific minds over the past three centuries.' Michael Sutton, Chemistry in Britain

Book Description

Why does matter stick together? Why do gases condense to liquids, and liquids to solids? This book provides a detailed historical account of how some of the leading scientists of the past three centuries have tried to answer these questions.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John E Tibballs on 16 July 2003
Format: Hardcover
Professor Rowlinson has written masterfully about our changing understanding of why liquids and solids hold together. While the field is technical, Rowlinson's history is accessible to the anyone interested in the Western culture. His story stretches from Newton to the 1990's when Nobel-Prize-winning electron-structure computation took over the field. From a teaching scientist's perspective, it is a delight to have the sources of our concepts of stress, strain and intermolecular forces placed in the context of changing scientific fashions. The history is thoroughly documented thanks to the author's immediate access to the Royal Society's library and to his lingusitic capabilites. Rowlinson uses the theme to illustrate how paradigmal forces acted within this field of science. His tale shows how progress is governed by the human condition; obscurity and fame, parochialism and broad appeal have all played a part.
My future teaching of the mechanics of materials will draw heavily on the historical details that Rowlinson provides. His clarification of the historical misunderstandings that parallel the difficulties we all have in grasping the fundamental concepts, is an inspiration to pedagogical innovation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A tale of why we stick together 5 Aug. 2005
By Newton Ooi - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book provides the history of scientific thought into why things stick together. The book begins with a review of ancient Greek science, and the concept of atoms - objects too small to be divided. The text then picks up in the Enlightenment when scientists like Newton are pondering the question of how the physical world came about, and using experiments to guide their ideas. The major scientific discoveries and discoverers in the field of cohesion are detailed, including both theorists and experimentalists. These cover the fields of quantum mechanics, electrostatics, chemistry, and surface science. Basic principles are laid out such that any college student in science or engineering can understand the text. Overall, an insightful book, though not the most entertaining book to read.
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