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From Quarks to the Cosmos: Tools of Discovery (Scientific American Library Series, Vol. 28) Paperback – October, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0716760122 ISBN-10: 0716760126

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Product Details

  • Series: Scientific American Library Series (Book 28)
  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: W.H. Freeman & Company (October 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0716760126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716760122
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,723,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Leon M. Lederman, Nobel Laureate (Batavia, IL), is Resident Scholar at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Director Emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Pritzker Professor of Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the author of the highly acclaimed The God Particle, the editor of Portraits of Great American Scientists, and a contributor to Science Literacy for the Twenty-First Century. Dr. Lederman and coauthor Christopher T. Hill are also the coauthors of Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mark Meyer on January 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read lots of popular science books about particle physics and this is way out in front of the pack! It clarified many things that other authors just assumed the reader could understand. For example, the section on how to build synchrotrons and accelerators and why the devices are shaped the way they are was so clear. Plus the color photographs and drawings make it a lovely book to just browse through. If you love particle physics, or are even just a little intrigued, this book is a must! I intend to reread it sometime.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Howard Schneider on November 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
As the name of this reference implies, it provides a good review from particle physics to astrophysics, and of significance, relates inner space to outer space. Both theoretical and experimental methods are explored. The classical big-bang theory is clearly discussed, as are its difficulties and the solutions provided by inflation theory.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Craig A. Breighner on June 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Over the years our family has purchased between 20 and 30 volumes from the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN series. This volume, the 28th, remains among, or perhaps might be, THE most profound of the series. As another reviewer has already mentioned, the presentation is clear, concise, and beautifully illustrated. It underscores the interplay of technological advancement with theory, while offering one of the most cogent discussions of inflation and the standard model I have seen. Likewise, while many writers have chronicled the contributions of various theoreticians, few have provided as comprehensive an historical overview of the devices and instrumentation by which so much theoretical work has been experimentally substantiated.

I also suspect that, like myself, many laypersons reading better-known treatments of the Big Bang might have overlooked the logical impossibility of chemical elements as we now know them having existed in the immense-but-grapefruit-sized mass that constituted our universe at or shortly after it's 'inception.' The popular scientific literature is full of discussions of the "fusion furnaces of the stars" and their role in producing heavier elements. But this volume, originally written before the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the abandonment of the Superconducting Super-Collider (SSC), contains the most striking depiction of how atoms and subatomic particles themselves would have to have been formed from still smaller entities. Simultaneously breath-taking and awe-inspiring, in its entirety the book allows the reader to come away with his or her head in the heavens and both feet [still] on the ground. Five stars!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roger Sweeny on January 15, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a well-written, well-produced book, with lots of interesting information and useful charts and graphs. It is a history of scientists’ attempts to answer two sets of questions, one “micro”--at the smallest levels, what is everything made of?--and one “macro”--how is the universe structured? how did it begin, how did it get where we are today, and where will it go from here? It is also a history of the tools used to try to answer those questions.

The authors have two big themes. One, research on the micro and macro questions are now intertwined; answers to micro questions help answer macro questions, and vice versa. Two, the ability to answer both sets of questions depends on advances in the tools available, from geiger counters and photographic plates to today’s giant accelerators, telescopes, and satellites. They do a good job developing those themes.

So why only three stars?

1. This book shares a problem common to many popular science books. The authors start slowly with the basics but quickly speed up. There is so much to cover in a limited amount of space that the reader just doesn’t get enough detail and background to understand a lot of what is whizzing by.

2. The original hardcover was finished in 1989. It was directed at the “intelligent layman” to let him know what new tools were becoming available and what questions they might help answer in the next few decades. But those decades are now past. The last third of the book would be pretty different if it were written today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Seth M Barber on November 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great introduction for anyone who wants a better understanding of how the universe works, The only downside for those who want to purchase this book is that it was published in 1989. There have been many advancements in the last few decades that you might want to consider reading into.
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