First Edition of Arthur Holly Compton's Atomic Quest; Inscribed by Him with a half page inscription
Atomic Quest: A Personal Narrative.
Compton, Arthur Holly.$850.00
Item Number: 76894
New York: Oxford University Press, 1956.
First edition of the Nobel Prize-winning physicist’s account of the Manhattan Project. Octavo, original cloth, illustrated. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “Dear Allen and Juanita Abrams: Wilson and Helen Compton have asked me to send on to you a copy of my story of the ‘Atomic Quest.’ As good friends of theirs and of Karl and Margaret Compton, I hope you will find interest in this account of an important episode. Sincerely, Arthur Holly Compton October 9, 1957.” Near fine in a very good price-clipped dust jacket.
As a man whose scientific work led him to the position of director of the Metallurgical Laboratory of the Manhattan Project, Dr. Compton has an important record to add to the annals of the beginning of the Atomic Age, for his was a personal and intimate connection with it. Basically, his book is a testimony of hope in a new era for mankind that can be created by a Christian use of atomic energy, but in expressing this he presents the history of atomic research and development as he saw it in this country. Though his association with nuclear studies Degan in youth, more direct contact came in 1941 when a chat with Ernest O. Lawrence of the University of California revealed the possibilities of making a bomb and indicated the need for government and military action. The course of events which followed is by now familiar- including as it does the historic day at Chicago when Fermi set off the first self-sustaining chain reaction; the increasingly involved negotiations with Washington; the decision to start the Manhattan project and the actual problems of making the bomb itself. There is a new and spiritual note. Deeply concerned with humanity's chances for an increasingly freer, better society made possible through the proper use of atomic energy, Dr. Compton speaks of war and its causes, of the reasons the bomb was dropped on Japan and, in warning of the inevitable consequences of full scale war, clearly points to the need for universal human understanding. For the market created by such books as Laura Fermi's Atoms in the Family this should provide additional and more technical points of interest.