Any shift in national priorities or the economy tends to jolt career orientations. "Too few of those who are equipped to move into new positions realize their opportunity," writes Dean Brown, "and many are cautious about entering areas whose future potential they do not fully understand."
This second edition of Basic Data of Plasma Physics is, in essence, a new book, for several reasons. First, so voluminous have been the research results in this area since the first edition of 1959 that the basic data themselves are greatly changed and enlarged. Second, whereas the earlier edition presented much of the material in verbal form, this one displays almost all of it in a consistent set of graphic figures.
What are acceptable modern standards of instruction in physics? In August, 1960, 86 physicists from 32 nations met at the UNESCO HOUSE in Paris to discuss individual viewpoints and draft resolutions to represent universal thought on this subject.
The speeches, papers, dicussions, exhibits, and motion pictures at the Conference mirrored the breadth and contrasts of contemporary physics instruction, vitally important to both scientifically advanced and scientifically underdeveloped nations.
When aerospace engineers, laid off from the space program, feel lucky to find employment as manual laborers; when physics Ph.D.s, ready and willing to teach, find themselves at the end of waiting lists hundreds of names long for positions at little-known colleges and even high schools—then clearly the problem of making proper use of those with advanced education, and of giving them proper scope, is already at a critical point.
Given the ever-increasing acceleration of science and technology, every modern scientist is to some degree concerned about the future of his subject and, as a teacher, about how to come to terms with the interaction of science and the needs and aspirations of his students.
This volume contains a readable, condensed, and interpretive account of discussions among physicists from 26 countries from the Conference on Physics in General Education held in Rio de Janeiro in July, 1963. The meeting dealt with physics as part of a liberal education. The serious practical difficulties of teaching physics in a way that is appropriate to this purpose are now widely recognized in those countries that are highly developed scientifically, and many projects have been launched to solve them.