Translated by Takeshi Oka
All atomic particles have a particular "spin," analogous to the rotation of the earth about its axis. Simple as spin may sound, the quantum mechanical reality underlying it is complex and still poorly understood. Yet this mysterious quality and the statistics associated with it have vast practical importance to topics as wide-ranging as the stability of atoms and stars and magnetic resonance imaging.
Originally published in 1974, Sin-itiro Tomonaga's The Story of Spin
remains the most complete and accessible treatment of the subject, and is
now available for the first time in English translation. Tomonaga tells
the tale of the pioneers of physics and their difficult journey toward an
understanding of the nature of spin and its relationship to statistics.
Tomonaga's clear unfolding of the tale of spin will interest advanced
scientists studying the foundations of modern physics, while his
description of the little-known history of the Japanese physics community
from the 1920s to the 1940s will be an invaluable resource for historians
and philosophers of science.