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What Little I Remember Paperback – Illustrated, 30 Sep 1980
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'In writing a charming, light-hearted cameo of his life and times as a scientist, Professor Frisch has revealed more about science than many authors with greater pretensions. This is a book that deserves to be read, and will be enjoyed, by a wide audience.' The Economist
'Despite his modest title, what Frisch 'manages to remember' is quite impressive. He loved to tell stories and his many vignettes of his associates … include nearly every outstanding physicist who worked in nuclear physics.' Science
'This is a happy book, from which the author's personality and his enjoyment of physics, of music, of life, emerges clearly. It is also a portrait of the pre-War world of physics, of days of small numbers and small apparatus, of times when a physicist could think of an ingenious experiment today and set it up tomorrow.' Nature
Otto Frisch took part in some of the most momentous developments in modern physics, notably the discovery of nuclear fission (a term which he coined). This characterful book of reminiscences sheds an engagingly personal light on the people and events behind some of the greatest scientific discoveries of this century, illustrated with a series of fascinating photographs and witty sketches by the author himself.See all Product description
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Frisch was the nephew of Lise Meitner, and a physicist in his own right. One of the key events describes how Lise, who had fled Hitler's persecution, and he discover nuclear fission, and the energy this released. Lise was still in contact with her experimental partner Otto Hanh back in Germany. On Christmas eve 1938, she received a letter from Hanh outlining results he couldn't explain. Frisch describes he and Lise's discussed Hanh's letter as they walked in the snow, and how using E=mc2, they worked out that the weight missing from the elements that appeared in Hanh's experiment, corresponded with the energy that would have been released. And thus from a distance, and on the back of an envelope (literally)they identified the first case of nuclear fission.
A pleasant read and helps people those momentus years, which are rapidly retreating.
The author can switch from a light hearted storytelling to a scientist very quickly but never goes to deep & whatever I didn't quite understand I enjoyed looking up.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I liked Frisch's description of the growth of nuclear physics with simple sentences incorporating insights into the people who developed it. He lends insight into the world physics community who fought for understanding the atomic nucleus using relatively crude instruments and a lot of thought. He also describes with personal experience the plight of Jews and German Jewish physicists in 1930s Europe. It was a fascinating read that I had not expected in an autobiography.
He worked with every big name before WWII, and includes stories of that era, plus how he and many others managed to make their way to the US after 1939.
The title is a broad hint as to his take on his own importantance, but it's a far better book that his title wants you to believe.
I like it very much!