Science: Golden Age Interpreter

When little Jimmy Jeans was born in 1877, science was smug and dull. It considered the universe a mere machine governed by well-known laws. When Sir James Hopwood Jeans (O.M.; M.A.; D.Sc.; LL.D.; D.L.; F.R.S.) died in England last week at 69, the universe had once again become a mystery, and— thanks to war-conscripted science—a dangerous mystery.

But between the publication of Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity (1905) and the explosion of the first atomic bomb (1945), science had a glorious period never equaled before. On dozens of fronts it swept ahead. From laboratories and observatories, from scholars' quiet studies in rapid...

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