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The Age of InnocenceNuclear Physics between the First and Second World Wars$
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Roger H. Stuewer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198827870

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198827870.001.0001

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The Cambridge–Vienna Controversy

The Cambridge–Vienna Controversy

(p.61) 4 The Cambridge–Vienna Controversy
The Age of Innocence

Roger H. Stuewer

Oxford University Press

The intense Cambridge–Vienna controversy, which was carried out in the literature and in private correspondence, lasted six years. It was resolved in December 1928, when Chadwick visited Meyer’s institute in Vienna and found that under Pettersson and Kirsch’s influence their women scintillation counters had fallen prey to a misleading psychological effect. That was never published in the literature, however, so outsiders could only sense that something had gone seriously wrong in Meyer’s institute, which greatly affected its scientific reputation. The major positive consequence of the controversy was that it encouraged the further development of electrical techniques for counting charged particles to replace human scintillation counters.

Keywords:   Cambridge–Vienna controversy, Vienna Radium Institute, women scintillation counters, psychological effect, scientific reputation, electrical counting techniques

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