Einstein disliked that, too. He devoted the rest of his life to searching for a way to tie up these loose ends by finding a grand unified theory, and always failed. From time to time he thought he had it, but it always unraveled on him in the end. As time passed he became increasingly marginalized and even a little pitied. Almost without exception, wrote Snow, "his colleagues thought, and still think, that he wasted the second half of his life."
Elsewhere, however, real progress was being made. By the mid-1940s scientists had reached a point where they understood the atom at an extremely profound level—as they all too effectively demonstrated in August 1945 by exploding a pair of atomic bombs over Japan.
By this point physicists could be excused for thinking that they had just about conquered the atom. In fact, everything in particle physics was about to get a whole lot more complicated. But before we take up that slightly exhausting story, we must bring another straw of our history up to date by considering an important and salutary tale of avarice, deceit, bad science, several needless deaths, and the final determination of the age of the Earth.