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A Scientific History of Intermolecular Forces


  • Date Published: June 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521673556

£ 29.99

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About the Authors
  • Why does matter stick together? Why do gases condense to liquids, and liquids to solids? This book provides a detailed historical account of how some of the leading scientists of the past three centuries have tried to answer these questions. The topic of cohesion and the study of intermolecular forces has been an important component of physical science research for hundreds of years. This book is organised into four broad periods of advances in our understanding. The first three are associated with Newton, Laplace and van der Waals. The final section gives an account of the successful use in the twentieth century of quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics to resolve most of the remaining problems. The book will be of primary interest to physical chemists and physicists, as well as historians of science interested in the historical origins of our modern day understanding of cohesion.

    • The only book in print that deals with the history of research into intermolecular forces
    • Written by one of the most distinguished chemists in Britain
    • Will be of interest to historians of science as well as researchers in the area
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… an intricate and intriguing saga … The book admirably fulfills its stated aim of serving historians of science and also physicists or physical chemists curious about the roots of modern approaches to intermolecular forces.' Dudley Herschbach, Physics Today

    'The book strikingly illustrates the crooked ways of progress in science … presents an exhaustive treatment of a ubiquitous natural phenomenon that stubbornly resisted fundamental understanding until well into the twentieth century.' Johanna Levelt Sengers, Isis

    'Rowlinson's detailed and densely informative study is destined to be the history of cohesion for many years to come. … it will be of as much interest to historians of the physical sciences as to scientists with an inclination for the history of their field. … an excellently guided tour through the labyrinth of cohesion from Newton to quantum physics.' Ambix

    'We rarely contemplate the forces holding everyday objects together. … However, J. S. Rowlinson's fascinating book reveals that the causes of cohesion have occupied many great scientific minds over the past three centuries.' Michael Sutton, Chemistry in Britain

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521673556
    • length: 344 pages
    • dimensions: 243 x 171 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.548kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction and summary
    2. Newton
    3. Laplace
    4. Van der Waals
    5. Resolution

  • Author

    J. S. Rowlinson, University of Oxford
    Sir John Rowlinson is Dr Lee's Professor of Chemistry Emeritus in the department of chemistry at the University of Oxford.

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