AUTHORCathcart, Brian
TITLEThe Fly in The Cathedral: How a Group of Cambridge Scientists Won the International Race to Split the Atom
PUBLISHERFarrar, Straus and Giroux
CITYNew York, NY

This history features the Nobel laureates, physicists John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton, who were instrumental in revealing the structure of the atomic nucleus. It focuses on their work with Lord Rutherford at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England during the 1920s and 1930s where they built an accelerator that allowed them to hurl protons into the nuclei of various elements and observe the resulting transformations. The author integrates their personal stories with the frustration and excitement of their scientific work to tell an engaging tale. The history includes the interactions of Cockcroft and Walton with many of the luminaries who populated Cavendish during that time including Rutherford, James Chadwick, and George Gamow. The book provides an interesting introduction to nuclear physics for a general audience.

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