The principal trend of current development of science involves an ever-increasing volume of knowledge. Being originated in ancient world in connection with the demand of practice, science has transformed into productive force and became an important social institute effecting significantly on all spheres of society and a culture as a whole. Since the seventieth century the volume of scientific knowledge (number of discoveries and scientists, volume of scientific information,) is doubled approximately every 10–15 years. Impetuous growth of information volume results inevitably in drastic gap between the level achieved by fundamental science and the level of training in higher educational institutions.
In one of his statements professor S. P. Kapitsa has expressed a thought that every generation has to write its own manual of physics. Then brings up the questions: "Has the time for writing this manual come, and if yes, is modern generation (of the late twentieth – early twenty first centuries) ready to do it? And the very important – what the content of such manual will be?". Speaking about history of physics development, the famous American physicist and popularizer of science Jane Orire*, has chosen (arbitrarily to some extent) three periods – classical, new and modern. By the end of ninetieth century such areas of physics as mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, optics and hydrodynamics have been thoroughly studied. It was seemed that the development of theory of these fields was completed and one could hardly expect here any new revelations and breakthrough. All these areas was referred to as classical physics.
In the end of the ninetieth century and during first three decades of the twentieth century a series of remarkable discoveries has been made in physics. There was found radioactivity phenomenon, which further on was applied for the investigation of atom structure. The formulation of relativity theory made one to correct traditional views on space and time. The attempts to describe the atom structure led to the origination of quantum theory. This period of time, when the essence of physical studies was changed dramatically, was called the period of new physics.
In the 30-th of twentieth century radiowave radiation of stars has been discovered. In those years neutron and division of atomic nuclei were also found. These and other revelations resulted in huge number of information accumulated in new fields of physics. This process is keeping up nowadays. Such development of physics resulted in further discoveries and formulation of new ideas has led to the origination of modern physics.
Apart from the growth of information volume, the other distinctive trend in modern natural science is an ever-increasing integration of scientific studies. Such trend makes the division of natural science into strictly defined fields rather conditional. Though the role of physics, studying the simplest and at the same time the most common properties of material world, remains dominant. Just like one should not deny the specifics of investigation objects of other branches of natural science.
Two peculiarities aforementioned (tremendous growth of scientific information and ever-increasing integration of different fields of natural science) put forward the problems of methodological character, which should be solved before publishing manual literature. Importance of the problem is also strengthened by the fact that very often one accents how to learn. Though we see the problem in other aspect "What one has to learn?"
All these facts impelled us to prepare a series of publications under general title "Physics on the boundary of centuries" where the basic achievements of physics for the last fifty years would be reflected. By the moment (2009) three monographs in English have been prepared. The first is "Physics of self-organizing and ordered systems", the second is "New objects of atomic and nuclear physics", the third is "Novel in physics of organic world". We have used the material taken from different sources (reviews, monographs, manuals). Primarily we rested the articles published in "Advances of physical sciences" (Uspekhi Phys. Nauk in country-regionplaceRussia) and "Soros' Educational Journal" (Soros Obraz. Jurn. In Russian) journals. References are given in the end of each chapter. In some cases we included in the references the sources wherefrom we did not take material or did it in small extent. But these sources can be helpful for deep study of the material; therefore the references of out books contain more than 250 publications. Thus, the reader of our manual will have an opportunity to use a vast list of references related to different fields of modern physics.
We understand the complexity of our task. But one has to solve this task just now. To do it one should have any experience; one should make the first step. We want to believe that we have done this step. Taking into account that a huge amount of material was accumulated during the last fifty years as well as the fact that volume of book (and time of training the students) is limited we had to make a choice. Working on the book, we had in a view, first of all, the students of technical specialties. Of course, it was not made by accident. Technical progress, which we are observing today, became possible due to scientific advancements achieved during some last decades. At the same time we have discussed in our book those fields of physics, which do not impact directly on technical progress, but without them it is impossible to understand the world we are living in.
As for as the level of our book is concerned, it is intermediate between manual and scientific review. Therefore, the books is intended primarily for the students of higher years, which have studied the corresponding courses of physics and mathematics. We aimed at interesting presentation of the material, because it promotes to its deeper learning. Control questions to each chapter as well as numerous illustrations pursue the same objective.
The second book contains five chapters. The first chapter is dedicated to modern notions on a nature of fundamental forces. The second chapter describes some novel objects of atomic physics which attract an ever-increasing research interest due to a variety of physical properties and phenomena inherent in these objects. We mean here exotic and Rydberg atoms, excimers, clusters, fullerenes, endohedral compounds and carbon nanotubes. The third chapter covers the paramount successes in understanding of structure and dynamics of nuclear matter achieved during last fifty years. In the fourth chapter of this volume, new nonlinear optical effects, which origination depends in light intensity, are discussed. Very frequently interpretation of these effects is connected with microscopic laws of light interaction on molecular and atomic levels. The final (fifth) chapter deals with quantum information, a new direction in physics being originated from some ideas of quantum mechanics that have been undemanded until recently.
V. K. Voronov, A. V. Podoplelov
Doctor of Science, Professor, an Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation and Soros Professor. He is a well-known scientist, a leading specialist in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and the author (or coauthor) of more than 200 publications, including 6 monographs. Prof. V. K. Voronov is a highly skilled lecturer, who pays much attention to training activity. Over many years he has delivered lectures on physics besides the course entitled "Concepts of Modern Natural Science".
Alexey Vitalievich PODOPLELOV
Doctor of Science. His research activity relates to the study of paramagnetic particles using nuclear magnetic resonance techniques. He is a well-known specialist in the study of the effects of electron and nuclear spins on reactions involving radicals. These works as well as his training activity are performed at both the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Novosibirsk State University. Currently, A. V. Podoplelov is head of the Center for Proteomic Research in Moscow. He also is a professor at Moscow State University.
Voronov Vladimir K.
D.Sc. (chemistry), Professor, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, winner of the Award of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of education. Professor of the Irkutsk National Research Technical University. Scientific interests relate to molecular spectroscopy, physical-organic chemistry, nuclear magnetic resonance and quantum chemistry. Over the last two decades, he is also engaged into investigations in the field of quantum information and scientific-methodical studies devoted to cognitive barriers of the universities’ students. Awarded with the gold medal "For Innovative Work in the Field of the Higher Education".
Podoplelov Alexey V.
D.Sc. (chemistry), Professor, scientific expert of the HTLab AG Company (Pfäffikon, Switzerland). He is a winner of the Award of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of education. Research interests relate to the studies of paramagnetic particles by methods of nuclear magnetic resonance of high resolution. His works are devoted to the effects of electron and nuclear spin on the reactions involving radicals. He is an author and coauthor of more than seventy publications including nine monographs.