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Fermilab: Physics, the Frontier, and Megascience Paperback – April 15, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (April 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226346242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226346243
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,170,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fermilab will be of interest to anyone curious about science and science policy." (Physics World) "Fermilab's story is well told and attractively framed in the book, a fitting capstone for the edifice of historical scholarship that the authors have erected over 30 years. Megascience requires 'megahistory,' and Hoddeson knows how to pioneer in that field." (Science)"

About the Author

Lillian Hoddeson is the Thomas M. Siebel Professor of History of Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Adrienne W. Kolb is the Fermilab archivist. Catherine Westfall is visiting associate professor at Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University.

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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Victor van Lint on March 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This history of Fermilab and associated high-energy particle physics is very well written. Particularly useful is the description of the people and the political climate in which the lab was funded and grew. I wish in describing the history and demise of the SSC the role of the growth in cost had been offered. As written it sounds like Congress just changed its mind. Could the contrast between the spectacular results of Wilson's risk-taking, seat-of-the-pants and economizing management style with the cost growth produced by the formal DoE-inspired structure teach us something? I would also prefer a little more of the engineering and science. For example, the proton-proton collider option was inconsistent with energy saving. Since the colliding particles have to come from opposite directions both the Main Ring and new superconducting-magnet rings would have been required, i.e., with opposite magnet polarities. Also, a few words about how one infers the existence of the top quark from the plethora of particles in the CDF reconstruction figure would be useful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In high energy physics, Fermilab is one of the few world centres. The sheer cost of maintaining a research level accelerator has helped make this so. To a non-physicist, the authors explain the lab's history. Largely this is quite well done. The explanations are grounded in a general science background. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is some handwaving about the esoterica that the lab has detected.

But the reason for having a large ring in which charged particles are accelerated is clear. And it is this which gives the most distinctive aspect of Fermilab.

Nor should the book be neglected by physicists. Standard reports about Fermilab, that are written for physicists, tend to neglect some of the politicking and management issues that led to the lab's location being picked, and then to fund the lab's construction. For example, in the 60s, there were real concerns about the civil rights record of Illinois. But you rarely see this in the physics writeups, which focus on the physics and engineering, while often ignoring broader societal issues.

Tangentially, the fate of proposed but never build accelerators is also tied into the story of Fermilab. Hence we see Isabelle, nicknamed Wasabelle after it failed to garner funding. And then there was the SSC - Superconducting SuperCollider, which became a hole in the ground in Texas. The reader should appreciate from this that Fermilab was lucky, in being made at a time when funding sufficed for its mission.
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By Amazon Customer on August 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent history of creation of Fermilab. I would have appreciated more discussion of the physics/engineering problems and less on the notion of "frontier".
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