A Short History of Physics in the American Century- Words & Quotes

Words from A Short History of Physics in the American Century by David C. Cassidy:

  • confluence- a coming together of people or things
  • nascent- beginning to develop; new
  • paragon- model of excellence
  • reticence- restraint; reservation
  • largesse- large bestowment of gifts; generosity
  • reconnoiter- to inspect to get information for military purposes
  • meritocracy- an elite group of people based on ability and talent, not wealth or class; a leadership by the former
  • impetus- a moving force; momentum of a moving body
  • echelon- a level of command, authority, or rank
  • ungenial- unfriendly; aloof
  • esoteric- understood by or meant for a select few

Quotes from A Short History of Physics in the American Century by David C. Cassidy:

“…the task of history is not to celebrate achievements but to understand them as historical events, to explore and explain what happened, how it happened, and why it happened.”

“…some corporations became uneasy about the government’s influence on applied research.”

“…what is the relationship between science and technology?”

“New pure knowledge was its own reward.”

“Nature calls us to study her, and our better feelings urge us in the same direction.” (original quote by Henry Rowland)

“…there is something more honorable than the accumulation of wealth.” (original quote by Henry Rowland)

“Knowledge was for the benefit of all, they argued, not for the profits of a few.”

“The technology and the science required could not be achieved by lone inventors or by a few brilliant geniuses, but only by the coordinated efforts of large groups of well-funded researchers working together on a grand scale for a common cause  and across disciplines and venues—from industry and government to academic research laboratories.”

“If World War I had been the chemists’ war, World War II would be the physicists’ war.”

“The physics community was now more democratic, but also, like most democracies, more chaotic.”

“The day is past when scientists and other scholars can sit quietly in their ivory towers unaware and unconcerned with the world outside their laboratories. Science is now a part of society, is a part of politics, is a part of the social and economic system.” (original quote by Lee DuBridge)


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