Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler

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University of Chicago Press, 20 окт. 2014 г. - Всего страниц: 320
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After World War II, most scientists in Germany maintained that they had been apolitical or actively resisted the Nazi regime, but the true story is much more complicated. In Serving the Reich, Philip Ball takes a fresh look at that controversial history, contrasting the career of Peter Debye, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, with those of two other leading physicists in Germany during the Third Reich: Max Planck, the elder statesman of physics after whom Germany’s premier scientific society is now named, and Werner Heisenberg, who succeeded Debye as director of the institute when it became focused on the development of nuclear power and weapons.

Mixing history, science, and biography, Ball’s gripping exploration of the lives of scientists under Nazism offers a powerful portrait of moral choice and personal responsibility, as scientists navigated “the grey zone between complicity and resistance.” Ball’s account of the different choices these three men and their colleagues made shows how there can be no clear-cut answers or judgement of their conduct. Yet, despite these ambiguities, Ball makes it undeniable that the German scientific establishment as a whole mounted no serious resistance to the Nazis, and in many ways acted as a willing instrument of the state.

Serving the Reich considers what this problematic history can tell us about the relationship of science and politics today. Ultimately, Ball argues, a determination to present science as an abstract inquiry into nature that is “above politics” can leave science and scientists dangerously compromised and vulnerable to political manipulation.
 

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Serving the Reich At the end of the Second World War the allies were chasing down scientists as quickly as possible in a game of cat and mouse not just across Germany but especially around Berlin. The ... Читать весь отзыв

Содержание

Nobel Prizewinner with dirty hands
1
1 As conservatively as possible
7
2 Physics must be rebuilt
22
3 The beginning of something new
34
4 Intellectual freedom is a thing of the past
43
5 Service to science must be service to the nation
65
6 There is very likely a Nordic science
82
7 You obviously cannot swim against the tide
107
10 Hitherto unknown destructive power
187
11 Heisenberg was mostly silent
197
12 We are what we pretend to be
232
We did not speak the same language
251
Notes
268
Bibliography
288
Image Credits
295
Index
297

8 I have seen my death
142
9 As a scientist or as a man
165

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Об авторе (2014)

Philip Ball is a freelance writer who lives in London. He worked for over twenty years as an editor for Nature, writes regularly in the scientific and popular media, and has written many books on the interactions of the sciences, the arts, and the wider culture, including, most recently, Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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