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November 7, 1986

Radiological Physicists

Author Affiliations

Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia

JAMA. 1986;256(17):2418. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380170134038

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If the worship of science and technology has become a secular form of religion in the 20th century, then surely many of its high priests must include the physicists who made seminal discoveries in the first half of the century.

At hand is a slim volume touching the high points of the lives of ten of those physicists. Text, photographs, and sketches range from ten to 24 pages in individual chapters devoted to Roentgen, Curie, Planck, Rutherford, Bragg, Duane, Bohr, Joliot, Compton, and Fermi. These chapters provide significant biographical details, particularly including selected short quotes from writings and conversations. There are, in addition, short biographical notes on many other scientists, physicians, and engineers involved in the lives and activities of the central figures. There are also 403 separate references, a mine for the student or reader desiring to dig deeper.

An inquiry into the private lives of these scientists permits