Niels Bohr: the legend of the heavy-water lost.

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gabriel pagliarani
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Niels Bohr: the legend of the heavy-water lost.

Post by gabriel pagliarani » 07 Nov 2002 11:49

NILS BOHR: FATHER OF THE ATOM by Massimo Piattelli Palmarini, Scientist. Published on ULISSE 2000, January 1989, pg.44-51. Original english text source: no translation required from italian.
SIXTY YEARS AGO BOHR ANNOUNCED THAT THERE WERE " 2 THRUTHS IN SCIENCE." EINSTEIN DISAGREED: TODAY BOHR'S THEORY IS UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED.
It is rare enough to be able to say of someone, "He tells the truth." Even rarer, not to say unique in the hidtory of ideas, is the case of Niels Bohr. Not one truth after the other, or two among many other truths, but the two thruts of atomic physics, perceived toghether and accepted together. Any elementary component of matter and of energy such as an electron, a proton or a photon is at the same time a particle and a wave. Contrary to what we can observe in our everyday world where a floating cork is quite different from a whirlpool and where a surf board is quite different from the wave that carries it along, in the world of particle physics a single entity can be considered at the same time a corpuscle and a diffused perturbation.But to return to our commonplace examples, we can say that that a particle-wave, according to the extraordinary intuition that came to Bohr in 1927, to which he gave the imperirishable name of the CORRESPONDENCE PRINCIPLE, is both the surf board and the wave that carries it along, just as it is the cork and the whirlpool that swallows it up; it is in one place and yey everywhere....omissis...Einstein's famous comment was, "God doesn't play dice!"....omissis...In the thirties Bohr made a decisive contribution to discovery of nuclear fission and then, having made a daring escape from occupied Denmark, this died-in -the-wool pacifist who was also staunchly anti-nazi and anti-totalitarian, set to work on the atom bomb...omissis....One story about this illostrious, aristocratic Danish giant with the bushy eyebrows and ever present pipe tells, somewhat irriverently, that during his hasty and risky flight from occupied Denmark, he had hidden some of the unvaluable heavy water, so hotly sought after by Gestapo, in an ordinary beer bottle, but by mistake he picked up and took away a real bottle of beer. in fact this story is only partially true: it was one of Bohr's collegues who, when lucky enough to escape into Sweden, on Bohr's instruction took along a bottle of heavy water disguised in a beer bottle...omissis..and so on.
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ANSWER TO THE READER: IF BOHR WAS A GENIUS, WHY DO YOU MUST BE CONSIDERED AS MUCH STUPID TO BELIEVE IN A SO INCREDIBLE ANEDDOTE? WHY CANNOT I THINK THAT BOHR BETRAYED THE REICH AFTER COLLABORATING? This is a dilemma about Bohr of my own.

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