Abstract/Details

The tragic science of Leo Szilard

Sheffield, Roy Scott. University of Florida. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1994. 9606719.

Abstract (summary)

By exposing the tragic nature of Leo Szilard's science, the images of nuclear science, especially the image of nuclear science as an arcanum, emerge within the sharp focus of Szilard's work, exposing a mythology of nuclear science in the twentieth century. In his autobiographical "Recollections," Szilard described the metaphorical qualities of his science as he told the story of his childhood in Hungary. These images reverberated the metaphorical realm of Hungarian tragedy as expressed in Imre Madach's The Tragedy of Man, and the dissertation explores Madach's tragedy in order to locate the tragic images used by Szilard to explain himself and his understanding of science in the "Recollections." Using these images, the dissertation then explores the political nature of Szilard's "tragic science" as expressed in Szilard's proposal for a scientific youth organization, inspired by the German youth movement, and the political science that Szilard espoused after World War II when Szilard emerged as a liberal oracle for world peace and nuclear disarmament. The dissertation also displays the images inscribed in szilard's political science by describing his science fiction. Szilard's political science imagined that science would have a special role in saving the world. His science fiction portrayed the tragic character of the scientist unable to control a world created by his vision, yet envisioned possibilities in which the creations of science and the creative scientist still might be able to save the world. Finally, recalling all of Szilard's tragic voices, the dissertation recounts the metaphorical reality of Szilard's scientific papers and displays the tragic vision of Szilard's thermodynamic world that led him to his most powerful "discovery," the transmutation of chemical elements. It concludes with an analysis of the pervasive role of transformational power in his understanding of nuclear power.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Science history;
European history;
History
Classification
0585: Science history
0335: European history
0582: History
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Szilard, Leo; nuclear science
Title
The tragic science of Leo Szilard
Author
Sheffield, Roy Scott
Number of pages
281
Degree date
1994
School code
0070
Source
DAI-A 56/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Advisor
Gregory, Frederick
University/institution
University of Florida
University location
United States -- Florida
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
9606719
ProQuest document ID
304092770
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
https://www.proquest.com/docview/304092770;