The Oxford Handbook of the History of Physics brings together cutting-edge writing by more than twenty leading authorities on the history of physics from the seventeenth century to the present day. By presenting a wide diversity of studies in a single volume, it provides authoritative introductions to scholarly contributions that have tended to be dispersed in journals and books not easily accessible to the general reader. While the core thread remains the theories and experimental practices of physics, the Handbook contains chapters on other dimensions that have their place in any rounded history. These include the role of lecturing and textbooks in the communication of knowledge, the contribution of instrument-makers and instrument-making companies in providing for the needs of both research and lecture demonstrations, and the growing importance of the many interfaces between academic physics, industry, and the military.
What a wonderful book! From 1600 to the present day, we are led through the history of physics in its many guises. We see the strange and recalcitrant phenomena, the inventive development of instrumentation and experiments, the arcane intricacy of theory, and the pervasive social, cultural and economic influences and consequences of physics. Anyone interested in the history of science will delight in this book. So will any physicist, and any philosopher of science. Jeremy Butterfield, Trinity College, University of Cambridge