Few twentieth-century physicists contribute usefully to more than one fairly specialized area of the subject, and those that do are usually theorists. Landau and Feynman are particularly striking examples but others, too, have found that their theoretical tools developed to deal with one particular problem (say superfluid helium) can also be applied fruitfully in other apparently unrelated areas of the discipline (the structure of neutron stars, for example). The situation for experimental physicists is quite different, in that their skills tend to be less portable. Most of them spend their entire careers working within, or close to, the same narrow specialism that they entered in their twenties. There are some notable exceptions, of course, and none more notable than W.M. (Bill) Fairbank of Stanford University in whose honour Near Zero has been compiled.
Review of "Near Zero: New Frontiers of Physics", edited by J.D. Fairbank, B.S. Deaver, Jr, C.W.F. Everitt and P.F. Michelson, W.H. Freeman: 1989. Pp. 959.