The World Made New: Frederick Soddy, Science, Politics, and Environment

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9780198559344: The World Made New: Frederick Soddy, Science, Politics, and Environment

This is the biography of one of the most original and widely significant, yet largely forgotten, British scientists. Frederick Soddy was one of the first generation of English atomic scientists, working with Rutherford on the initial discoveries about atomic disintegration, and received the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his research on isotopes. Soddy's worry about the responsibility of science and scientists to society began with his fear that the atomic energy he and Rutherford had discovered could be disastrous if suitable political controls were not enforced, and led to his abandoning scientific research. He lived to see his worst fears realized with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Soddy was a pioneer in the field of energy conservation and environmental ethics, a remarkable and talented man who was not recognized as such in his own lifetime, largely because his ideas and attitudes did not fit in with the times in which he lived. Since his death, he has received rightful recognition, not only for his scientific work, but also because increased awareness of the environment and science's role in it is akin to his own philosophies. Historians in science, economics, and politics will find this a fascinating read of one of the first proponents of scientific responsibility.

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From the Back Cover:

The world made new is a biography of one of the most original and widely significant, yet largely forgotten, British scientists. Frederick Soddy was born in 1877 and was one of the first generation of English atomic scientists, who stood out from his colleagues from the start. He worked with Rutherford on the initial discoveries about atomic disintegration, for which Rutherford received the Nobel Prize. Soddy himself received the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his research on isotopes. Soddy's worry about the responsibility of science and scientists to society began with his fear that the atomic energy he and Rutherford had discovered could be disastrous if suitable political controls were not enforced, and led to him abandoning scientific research. He lived to see his worst fears realized with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Soddy was also concerned with economics and ecology and was a pioneer in the field of energy conservation and environmental ethics. Throughout his life, Soddy was also committed to social reform. Frederick Soddy was a remarkable and talented man who was not recognized as such in his own life-time, largely because his ideas and attitudes did not fit in with the times in which he lived. However he has become more appreciated since his death, not only because his scientific work has gained its rightful recognition, but also because of the increased awareness today of the environment and the role of science in it.

About the Author:

Linda Merricks is at University of Sussex.

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