The Golden Age of Theoretical Physics brings together 37 selected essays. Many of these essays were first presented as lectures at various universities in Europe and the USA, and then published as reports or articles. Their enlarged, final versions were published in the joint work of Jagdish Mehra and Helmut Rechenberg, The Historical Development of Quantum Theory, while the other essays were published as articles in scientific journals or in edited books. Here they are published together as a tribute to the Mehra-Rechenberg collaboration sustained for several decades, and cover various aspects of quantum theory, the special and general theories of relativity, the foundations of statistical mechanics, and some of their fundamental applications. Two essays, 'Albert Einstein's ''First'' Paper' (Essay 1) and 'The Dream of Leonardo da Vinci' (Essay 37), lie outside the major themes treated in this book, but are included here because of their historical interest. The origin of each essay is explained in a footnote.
This book deals with the most important themes developed in the first 40 years of the twentieth century by some of the greatest pioneers and architects of modern physics. It is a vital source of information about what can veritably be described as 'the golden age of theoretical physics'.